Boating on Long Island in 2020: Top Safety Reminders and New COVID-19 Resources
Coastal Processes & Hazards - News


Kathleen Fallon, New York Sea Grant Coastal Processes & Hazards Specialist, E:, P: (631) 632-8730

NOTE: This press release was modified from a NY Great Lakes version written by Kara Dune that was released in April, "Boating in NY in 2020: Top 10 Safety Reminders, New Resources"

Stony Brook, NY, May 6, 2020 - With Long Island’s 2020 boating season on the horizon, and boating opportunities opening up, there will be new considerations to stay safe on the water.

As boaters face some restrictions related to marina operations, social distancing, and sanitization, New York Sea Grant (NYSG) is providing resources to encourage people to boat in a socially responsible and safe way: 

• Boaters should be watchful for additional restrictions or new closures and should follow Center for Disease Control and New York State (NYS) guidelines or restrictions for community safety. 

• Call ahead to see if your local boating destination is open. 

• Do not use closed or crowded areas. 

• If you are not feeling well or show any sign of illness or symptoms, stay home.

• Observe social distancing and disinfecting standards aboard your boat. 

• Maintain social distancing from other boats and boaters in parking lots, at docks, fueling stations, and on the water. 

• Do not share paddles or any hand-held safety, recreational, angling, or other equipment.

Resources on offer the following points for boating during COVID-19 attention:

• Limit the people aboard to only those in your immediate household; no guests.

• No rafting up with other boats; no beaching your boat right next to someone else.

• Maintain distance at docks, when fueling, and on the water.

• Wash hands or use hand sanitizer after handling marina gates or fuel pump. 

• Go right from your house to the boat and back, no unnecessary contact.

• Boat responsibly.

Additionally, NYSG is reminding people of the top tips to be safe and environmentally-friendly on boats: 

• File a float plan so someone onshore knows when and where you are going and when you are expected back. 

• Know the rules of navigation. Brianna's Law will require all motorboat operators to complete a boating safety course; new age requirements began January 1, 2020. Online classes are available.

• Properly equip your vessel, be it a motorized boat, paddleboard, canoe, kayak. . . Check that all gear is working or up-to-date, e.g., lights, horn, fire extinguishers, flares, batteries, signal flags, first-aid kit, etc.

• Have and wear an approved life vest, preferably with a bright color that would be easily seen by emergency personnel.

• Check and assure weather and water conditions are safe before leaving, and check while on the water for any approaching weather systems. Sites for information include

• Have a properly-working means of communication, including a whistle, in case of emergency.

• Practice environmentally-responsible boating. Use a new bilge sock and fuel nozzle bib to prevent spills. 

Links to NYS and marine industry guidance for safety and using boat launches, fishing-by-boat access sites, and marinas include:

New York Marine Trades Association
Association of Marine Industries, Long Island
Empire State Marine Trades Association
Boating the Marine Waters of Long Island
New York State Parks Marine Services Bureau

More Info: New York Sea Grant

New York Sea Grant (NYSG), a cooperative program of Cornell University and the State University of New York (SUNY), is one of 34 university-based programs under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Sea Grant College Program.

Since 1971, NYSG has represented a statewide network of integrated research, education and extension services promoting coastal community economic vitality, environmental sustainability and citizen awareness and understanding about the State’s marine and Great Lakes resources.

Through NYSG’s efforts, the combined talents of university scientists and extension specialists help develop and transfer science-based information to many coastal user groups—businesses and industries, federal, state and local government decision-makers and agency managers, educators, the media and the interested public.

The program maintains Great Lakes offices at Cornell University, SUNY Buffalo, SUNY Oswego and the Wayne County Cooperative Extension office in Newark. In the State's marine waters, NYSG has offices at Stony Brook University in Long Island, Brooklyn College and Cornell Cooperative Extension in NYC and Kingston in the Hudson Valley.

For updates on Sea Grant activities: has RSS, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube links. NYSG offers a free e-list sign up via for its flagship publication, NY Coastlines/Currents, which is published quarterly. Our program also produces an occasional e-newsletter,"NOAA Sea Grant's Social Media Review," via its blog,

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