Boaters need to quarantine, too

Fri, 04/17/2020 - 5:00pm

Block Island Harbormaster Kate McConville has told The Block Island Times that she is informing all boaters that come into the Great Salt Pond or into Old Harbor that they will have to quarantine on the water for 14 days, no matter where they have traveled from. These are guidelines set by the state, said McConville.

Boaters who have a home out here can quarantine at their own home, which they must go straight to. However, McConville said since all the marinas are closed, and there are no moorings, unattended boats show poor seamanship.

McConville erected a sign at Coast Guard Beach on Tuesday, April 14 announcing the quarantine mandate. She said she planned on putting up a similar sign in Old Harbor. It applies to all boats whether they have come over from Newport or out of state, McConville said.

“I’ve had about five boats come into the harbor since we had a shelter in place and advised them of the quarantine,” said McConville. “I have their contact info. Most of them have come in to shelter from weather, and they have all been solo sailors.”

McConville said, “I can’t stop them from coming, but I can discourage them. There is no fuel, no water, no electricity” for boaters at this time. The Pump out boat is also not ready, but it might be in about a week. McConville said she is using a shellfish skiff to go out to meet the boaters. If the boat is in quarantine, it is required to fly a quarantine flag.

She said the quarantine requirement “has been in place and will stay in place until the town says otherwise.” McConville said she does not expect any increase in boat traffic until the end of the month. She said if someone breaks quarantine, it may become a law enforcement matter.

“We’ve all been working well together,” McConville said of the local police department.