Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties have finally announced plans to re-open their boat ramps. Here’s what it means for each county.
MIAMI DADE COUNTY
Yesterday, Dade County published an executive order that reopens the boat ramps and creates a vast list of new rules for those wanting to boat. Dade County’s boat ramp protocol is as follows:
- Ramps may be open between 6am and 8pm daily.
- Facial coverings shall be worn while on shore and until the vessel has departed.
- One boat per launch ramp.
- Passengers can board vessel once launched but must remain on the vessel when returning until the boat is ready to be loaded onto the trailer. At that time they must go directly to their vehicles and leave immediately.
- Dade County’s Water Activity regulations are as follows:
- Boats shall remain 50 feet apart at all times.
- Tying up to posts or structures that are condemned or unoccupied in Stiltsville is prohibited.
- Gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited.
- Rafting up or beaching of boats is prohibited.
- Landings and anchoring at sandbars are prohibited
The number of passengers allowed on a vessel will be determined by its length. For boats less than 25 ft, maximum of 8 people on the boat (max 4 adults). For boats 25-36 ft, maximum of 10 people on the boat (max 6 adults) and for boats greater than 36 ft, max of 10 people on the boat (8 adults max). In addition, no boat shall exceed the maximum persons capacity shown on the “max capacity label” and Jet Ski rental operations shall be single riders only (not sure what that means for non-rental Jet Ski owners).
- Broward County’s boat ramp protocol is as follows:
- Only one boat per launch ramp at a time is permitted.
- Municipalities shall set the times during each day that boat ramps may be open. If no such times are set by the applicable municipality, then ramps may operate from 6am to 7pm daily.
- No gathering of more than 10 people is permitted at any time during the boat launch, on the water and removing the boat from the water.
- CDC social distancing guidelines should be practiced at all times and venue staff, as well as customers, shall utilize personal protective equipment including, but not limited to, facial coverings and gloves.
Broward’s on-water regulations specify that all boats must remain at least 50 feet apart at all times, rafting up of boats and/or tying or roping boats together is prohibited. In addition, beaching, landing or anchoring of vessels on sandbars, islands, or open shorelines is also prohibited.
As with Dade County, the maximum capacity of people on each boat is determined by its size. The rules for Broward are exactly the same as Dade’s with the exception of boats “over 60 feet”. Boats over 60 feet can have 10 passengers maximum, inclusive of adults and children, but not including crew members.
PALM BEACH COUNTY
- Palm Beach County’s specifics are as follows:
- Marinas, boat docks, boat ramps and dry stack facilities are open and must adhere to CDC guidelines.
- Restaurant operations at launching venues shall remain limited to take-out food service only. All other forms of restaurant operations, including sit-down food service, remain prohibited (I guess U-Tiki is still take-out only).
- Launching venue staff, as well as customers, should utilize personal protective equipment, including, but not limited to, face coverings and gloves.
- All vessels on the water, including but not limited to boats, shall remain at least 50 feet apart at all times. Overnight parking, whether vehicles or vessels, at boat ramps is prohibited.
Palm Beach County’s on-water regulations specify that all boats and recreational activities comply with proper CDC social distancing, boats must remain at least 50 feet apart, and no groups of 10 or more people are allowed. Furthermore, rafting-up of boats isn’t allowed, and beaching, landings, anchoring, or mooring of vessels on sandbars, islands and open shorelines isn’t permitted. In addition, Palm Beach County has the same maximum capacity restrictions for people on boats as specified in Broward’s order.
ACTUALLY MUCH MORE RESTRICTIVE. WAIT…WHAT?
As I was reading all the county restrictions I couldn’t help but think “Is this more restrictive than before”? I say that because it was my understanding that only the ramps were previously closed but all on-the-water activity was open without restriction except those regulations set forth by Governor DeSantis. Now, one can’t anchor at a sandbar or a secluded beach and also has to follow a different maximum capacity requirement than what the FWC currently has in effect. Regardless, we should all appreciate the fact that the ramps are open and we can get back out on the water. As time goes on, Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties will allow their boating to return to normal.
Consider Boat U.S. for your boating needs. They are a great organization that provides numerous resources to improve your life on the water AND trailering your boat. Click HERE for more information.