If You Sleep Together You Can Sail Together

Great job California! While we’re far from clear sailing, the efforts made by California citizens are allowing county health departments to adjust shelter-in-place restrictions. As a result, more outdoor work and recreation activities can resume. That includes boating. You are now allowed to go sailing with people you sleep with, i.e. members of your own household, and in compliance with all the other pandemic guidelines of social distance, wearing of masks in public, park closures, etc.

Couples Sailing
It’s a start. You can’t invite friends but members of the same household can get out and enjoy the Bay.
© 2020 John

The most challenging aspect of trying to determine what’s legal is sorting out what is right for your county. In San Diego Bay, it was actually illegal to go boating over the last few weeks, and fines were being issued. CBS San Diego reports boating for members of single households is now allowed, but groups on party boats remain illegal.

The City of Berkeley has opened things up, saying it is OK to engage in outdoor recreational activity, “including, by way of example and without limitation, walking, hiking, bicycling, and running, in compliance with Social Distancing Requirements and with the following limitations,” and goes with much more detailed requirements. It does not mention boating or sailing, but it also says ‘shared equipment’, which we think would include a crew on a sailboat, should only be used by members of the same household.

The 29 page Berkeley directive starts with this warning, “Please read this Order carefully. Violation of or failure to comply with this Order is a misdemeanor punishable by fine, imprisonment, or both. (California Health and Safety Code § 120295 et seq.)” There are ways to get in trouble!

Sailing evenings
More sailing is a good thing.
© 2020 Latitude 38 Media LLC /

The city of San Francisco addresses watersports more directly, saying you can engage in “swimming, surfing, or paddling in the ocean or lakes; Boating, kayaking, and sculling (but only in craft used solely individuals or if by more than one individual, only by members of one household); Paddleboarding, kitesurfing, and windsurfing (with the individual’s own equipment).”

It does not specifically mention sailing but surely it is included. You can read the full 34-page document here.

We reached out to the Marin County health department COVID-19 response team on Thursday. They were meeting, and got back to us Friday evening with this response, “Outdoor recreation such as swimming, sailing or kayaking in the bay is not prohibited by the Order. Individuals may access the Bay for such outdoor activities but only if they comply with any restrictions on access and use that are established by the Health Officer, another government agency, or other entity that manages such area to reduce crowding and risk of transmission of COVID-19. If you can access the Bay in compliance with the Health Officer Order Directing All Parks to Close to Motorized Access, you can utilize the Bay as you would a park or trail for recreational activities.

“Stay safe and please practice social distancing.”

Other good news is the ability of outdoor contractors to get back to work. If you’ve been wanting to get a rigger or other tradesperson on your boat for repairs it would be fine as long as everyone continues to meet all other aspects of health safety protocols. This is good news for many businesses that have been on hold while sheltering from this storm. Circumstances could vary widely so calling in advance would be wise.

Additionally, public launch ramps are opening back up in the Delta. Check the Delta Chambers website, which also advises calling first.  Again rules varied by county as the public launch ramp in Sausalito has been closed but the ramps in Alameda were always open.

Trends are improving but national, state, and county health officials  remind us all we should not be complacent. There is an ongoing threat and trends can reverse. We chafe at the restrictions on our life but also are very appreciative that we’re not in the role of drafting or enforcing the legislation needed to overcome this threat. You can expect things to remain fluid and hard to navigate, so it will be necessary to be attentive as regulations and circumstances are subject to change.

We also remind ourselves that the rules are being created in the midst of great uncertainty for our very first pandemic are put in place not to punish us but to keep us all healthy and avoid a major catastrophe. We are excited both to be able to go sailing and to expand our outdoor activities. However, we remain committed to our mutual goal of restoring some semblance of normal life, restoring the economy while avoiding putting first responders and our friends and family in the line of fire of COVID-19.

We look forward to being able to invite our friends and crews back out sailing soon again too.

This article was updated on Saturday morning to add the information from Marin County: “We reached out to the Marin County health department COVID-19 response team on Thursday. They were meeting that evening and got back to us Friday evening with this response, “Outdoor recreation such as swimming, sailing or kayaking in the bay is not prohibited by the Order. Individuals may access the bay for such outdoor activities but only if they comply with any restrictions on access and use that are established by the Health Officer, another government agency, or other entity that manages such area to reduce crowding and risk of transmission of COVID-19. If you can access the bay in compliance with the Health Officer Order Directing All Parks to Close to Motorized Access, you can utilize the bay as you would a park or trail for recreational activities.

“Stay safe and please practice social distancing.”

 

10 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Steve Bondelid 1 month ago

    Fines, imprisonment or both because of the virus threat.
    No worries, they’ll let you out of prison because of the virus threat.

    • Avatar
      Jeff D 1 month ago

      I took away the exact same thing… Also, if you’re arrested for violating a temporary order and insist on a trial, do you think you’re going to do time for violating an order that’s no longer in place? Actually, maybe because…….California.

  2. Avatar
    Jose Kanusee 1 month ago

    Pretty typical of bureaucracy. Vague and ambiguous. For example, this- “You are now allowed to go sailing with people you sleep with, i.e. members of your own household, and in compliance with all the other pandemic guidelines of social distance, wearing of masks in public, park closures, etc.”

    So, I sleep with my spouse, and I am allowed to sail with her- but I must wear a mask? Will you pass along to the writer of this nonsense that I DON’T wear a mask in bed!

  3. Avatar
    Steven Woodside 1 month ago

    Nice work navigating through the complicated regulatory course around different sailing venues. Marin’s latest regulation for small construction projects: https://coronavirus.marinhhs.org/appendix-b-1-marin-health-order-april-29-2020. But your headline, “If you sleep together, you can sail together” may be misleading. What does the Coast Guard say? And what exposure is there to First Responders if something goes wrong on the water?

    • Avatar
      jeff 1 month ago

      As a former first responder, let me assure you that there have been exposure risks long, long before Covid was ever invented, and there will be long after. It’s literally a first responder’s JOB to understand and mitigate those risks. Do you ever sail during flu season? How about when Ebola was in town? Maybe we should stop our mail, because the postal worker is exposed to mail from all over, our mailbox handles, and what if she gets in an accident in her truck?!?!? I’m being ridiculous in that example, but honestly…how much freedom are you willing to give up so the government can keep you ‘safe’? Spoiler alert: Government and governmental organizations allowed this to happen, and $1200 checks and TikTok videos aren’t going to make it better.

  4. Avatar
    Richard Jepsen 1 month ago

    Good to remember that the entire safety protocol is about measuring and managing different risks. So, wearing a mask addresses a different situation and risk than does the ‘family residing together’ limitation. Both make sense, separately and in different situations. Also, politicians don’t understand sailing well, so might be forgiven for a blanket statement about masks. If it were me, I would apply the same standard underway on a boat with family as I do when hiking without anyone within 50 paces – I leave my mask off. I seriously doubt that a law enforcement officer would look sideways at that. But, the process of traveling to the boat and from the boat still has possibilities for coming into close quarters with other boaters or other citizens.

  5. Avatar
    Bill O'Connor 1 month ago

    We keep our masks in the car and wear them coming and going to the boat if there any any other folks around close by…take them off obviously on the boat and keep them available for the trip back to the car if needed…not rocket science, common sense.

  6. Avatar
    Dennis Bailey 1 month ago

    Hey there! Want to go for a sail? No charge. You just need to sleep with me.

  7. Avatar
    Judy McCandless 1 month ago

    Per an attorney, laws like this are unconstitutional in all states because they restrict our ability to assemble and practice religion (sailing), etc. Just a power trip for politicians? The U.S. Attorney General is looking for such cases to prosecute. Stay tuned.

  8. Avatar
    Steven Woodside 4 weeks ago

    Judy, I am an attorney, and have advised elected officials of different political parties that the First Amendment Right to free speech and assembly is not absolute. It is well settled that these rights must be balanced with the rights of others. For example, there is no absolute right to go to a public beach when to do so would endanger other persons. What makes the balancing test so difficult today is that Covid 19 can be transmitted by persons who have no symptoms. I love sailing. Sailing on SF Bay has been a religious experience for me and my family for generations since the 1890s. But I would caution everyone to tone down the rhetoric and be very careful about doing anything that might expose others to this insidious virus.

Leave a Comment

May Issue Hits the Docks
Since sometime way back in 1977, Latitude 38 has never missed publishing a monthly issue. We might be living in strange times, but the times are not strange enough to make us miss an issue now!
Free Range Sailing
Despite the uncertainty about the near future, registration for the 12th annual Delta Doo Dah cruising rally has been robust.
Get the Magazine at Home
Our Shelter-in-Place (*SIP) Special was a great success. Even though that offer has expired, you can still get Latitude 38 mailed to your home.