COVID-19 Impacts The Marina Industry

The arrival of the Coronavirus or COVID-19 has brought uncertain times to people across the world who are worried about their health and safety and about their businesses and budgets. The marina industry has not been spared and what the impact will be remains to be seen. Is boating a perfect recipe for social-distancing or a part of the problem when some boaters continue to gather and raft up?

For states and locales that have introduced mandatory shutdowns of non-essential businesses, marinas are essentially closed. Over the weekend both Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties in Florida, specifically called for the closure of all boat ramps and marinas in those areas as spring breakers took to the water for raft-ups and parties on sandbars. The mayors both cited the dangers of spreading the virus as the cause of the shutdown. In both counties, marina services for commercial fishing boats can still operate.

Last week the Corps of Engineers shut its campgrounds, visitor centers, beaches and special events such as shore sweeps and Earth Day activities, but kept boat launches, picnic areas and fishing piers open. The goal again was to help prevent gatherings of large crowds and minimize the spread of the virus. Up to date information on Corps facilities can be found here www.CorpsLakes.us.

Some marinas are taking the decision to open or close to a local level. Washburn Marina reported that Bayfield County in Wisconsin is asking seasonal homeowners to stay in their main homes to prevent the spread of the virus and minimize the risk of overwhelming the limited health care facilities. The marina is asking its customers to follow the recommendations.

With the news changing daily on what is open and closed, what help is or isn’t available, and just how far the virus is spreading, it can be difficult to find the latest information on specific impacts to the marina industry. However, some groups are set up to help.

Dockwa is working with the Waterway Guide and the AGLCA to provide boaters information on marina closures and staffing adjustments, and to help marinas get their updates out.

The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) is serving as a resource to manufacturers, business owners and the general public providing regular communications from its advocacy team each week on state and federal actions including stay-at-home orders, recreation closures, business loans, and stimulus packages.  https://www.nmma.org/coronavirus.

To see a list of what federal and state recreation facilities are open and closed as of today visit https://www.nmma.org/press/article/23158.

Marina Dock Age will continue to bring you news about the marina and boatyard industry, but we hope to be a respite from the steady stream of COVID-19 updates, letting you know what activity is still ongoing, what marinas are doing in this forced downtime, what projects are planned and what new products are coming. Reach out and let us know what you’re up to. We may have to keep our distance in person, but we can remain as social as we want to online and in print.