Boaters anxious to launch move into a sea of confusion over what's open
BARRIE, ONT. -- Boaters anxious to launch are moving into a sea of confusion with different rules for different municipalities amid the latest provincial shutdown.
In Thornbury, the boat ramp and harbour are blocked off. In Collingwood, boat ramps are closed. But in Wasaga Beach, the 2nd Street boat ramp is open, along with the launch in the provincial park.
In Barrie, the marina is closed, but the Tiffin boat launch is open.
On April 8, the Ford government halted multiple outdoor activities; however, recreational boating is allowed under the current stay-at-home order.
Additionally, under the province's orders, marinas, boat clubs, and boat launches can open, but municipalities are free to close them at their discretion.
Devon Newhouse, the facilities coordinator with the Barrie Marina, said boaters who have a slip at the marina need to book an appointment to put their boat in the water. "[The] staff would come with them down onto the dock and tie them up and make sure their boat is secure, and they would help them get off the dock and then basically from there it's locked up."
Grey Bruce medical officer of health, Dr. Ian Arra, said boat ramps could be considered essential for those who want to paddle for exercise or fish for food but said marinas are different.
"Marinas have the potential for gathering and potential partying, and they are not open," he said.
There are exceptions for marina staff and mechanics doing repairs or preparing for the upcoming season.
With the Victoria Day long weekend around the corner, on May 22, the typical launch of the boating season could be delayed, especially for large boats that require cranes to launch.
The province-wide stay-at-home order is in place until at least May 20.