Successive provinces have announced plans to gradually reopen the economy and ease restrictions around outdoor activities. For example, following joint advocacy by NMMA and Boating Ontario, the Ontario government has allowed marinas and boat clubs to reopen to the public; boat, watercraft and marine supply dealers can also open their doors to customers, with enhanced sanitation and physical distancing. Most provinces have also begun to reopen public parks and boat ramps, and sportfishing and hunting seasons are starting on schedule.
On the federal front, Transport Canada has announced that recreational boating will be restricted in Canada’s Arctic coastal waters (north of the 60th parallel) and coastal areas of northern Quebec and Labrador beginning on June 1st. The ban will be in place until at least October 31st. South of the 60th parallel, Transport Canada is encouraging boaters to follow the direction of local health authorities and maintain safe boating practices, including physical distancing and enhanced hygiene. Parks Canada has announced that, effective June 1st, the Trent Severn Waterway will "begin offering limited visitor access and basic services."
As warm weather approaches, Canadians will be venturing outdoors and looking for safe ways to spend time with family and friends. Our sector has a huge opportunity to present recreational boating as a fun and affordable activity that can be enjoyed while socially distancing. The mental health benefits of being on the water are well-known. Boating provides the means to get outside of daily routines, and promotes physiological and psychological improvements to health and wellness, creativity and play, happiness and relaxation.
As a reminder, NMMA Canada is keeping a list of provincial and territorial restrictions and closures that affect the recreational boating sector.