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May 5, 2020

On Friday afternoon Boating Ontario sent out the notice that Ontario’s boating industry had been granted the right to begin to prepare for the season. The notice form the Premiers’ office included this statement;

  • Marinas may also begin preparations for the recreational boating season by servicing boats and other watercraft and placing boats in the water, but not open to the public. Boats and watercraft must be secured to a dock in the marina until public access is allowed.

The decisions each and every one of us make in the days ahead will define what the boating season of 2020 looks like. The statement from the Premier was clear that marinas are ‘not open to the public.’ Boating Ontario encourages all marinas to heed those words as you make decisions within your operation in the days ahead.

Over the last couple of weeks, Ontario businesses and staff have received fines for not adhering to the rules – not social distancing has been a common issue. With the boating sector as one of only a handful granted the right to reopen and 58 new inspectors roaming the province, all marinas must expect to be visited. Ensure that every decision you make is defensible. If you know you are pushing the limits then let it wait, if you need clarity on any steps you are considering, then please call the Provincial hotline @ 1 888 444 3659.

An updated copy of the Social Distancing Best Practices guide for marine industry personnel is attached. With staff beginning to return to work on May 4th, we urge all members to take time to meet with your teams – with everyone 6 ‘ apart or more,  maybe outdoors or across the showroom – take time to review the guidelines. We are asking ourselves and our teams to change their habits – for service techs to no longer stand beside the parts manager discussing needs for a job, for salespeople to not gather discussing a new benefit on a new boat model and so much more. We need to consider staggered lunch breaks and outdoor lunch rooms. Those that smoke can no longer do so together. You may want to have each team member sign and acknowledge their responsibility to adhering to the guidelines. Encourage staff to weigh in with suggestions. You may also want to create a weekly contest for the team member who most frequently respects the new rules. Perhaps use an old fishing rod or 6’ paddle as a means to remind distance. There are a myriad of changes required at each of your facilities – we must take time to consider, make a plan for you and your team and implement immediately.

Boating Ontario knows that pressure from the water access cottager community is extremely high, that clubs whose members play a role in the launch phase is still an issue and they are well aware there will be other challenges. Our collective messaging over these past few weeks has been effective and our voices have been heard. As many of you begin to launch and prepare in earnest, know that Boating Ontario will be continuing to actively and strategically lobby for the next phase of reopening.

Click here for the Social Distancing Best Practices guide for marine industry personnel.

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