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Old 16-04-2020, 17:03   #1
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Coronavirus - Commissioning in Maine sailing nonstop to Rhode Island - can I?

We are charter boat captains with 46’ cat (currently in Maine) that needs to return to RI. Due to coronavirus lockdowns, not certain we can sail her back to Rhode Island where we have June charters paid and waiting. Rhode Island has already stated that the ocean iis essential to citizens and the charter industry will be allowed to operate (right to have access to the ocean is written into State’s constitution - twice). My concern is what access we out of stater’s have to retrieve our vessel and commission it - while quarantined onboard? The boatyard is a big name yard and tell me that they are unsure whether we can retrieve the vessel in May. I shall not name the yard at present but would think that they would make some arrangement for a commissioning - take the bill by the horns and provide a solution. Currently, the H-yard says we need pre-approval to come onto the yard property to access our own boat. Any suggestions as to commissioning while social distancing? Thinking stay on boat and bring all supplies into Maine in one shot, no detours. Why can’t governor in a State like Maine give written instruction that clearly stated how to get out of the state?
Any info or advice most welcome. Thanks
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Old 16-04-2020, 17:44   #2
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Re: Coronavirus - Commissioning in Maine sailing nonstop to Rhode Island - can I?

NEWPORT – The boating industry continues to operate in the state, but under strict COVID-19 related restrictions outlined by the state Department of Environmental Management as a result of an executive order by Gov. Gina Raimondo.

“Rhode Island municipalities are responsible for enforcing any quarantine order by the governor on vessels within their jurisdiction,” said Gail Mastrati, DEM spokesperson. “DEM does not have a role in this.”

Usually, it is up to city and town councils to appoint a “sentinel.” Under state of emergency powers, City Manager Joseph J. Nicholson Jr. appointed Harbormaster Tim Mills as Newport’s sentinel.

The crew and passengers in any boat coming from out-of-state must quarantine on the vessel here for 14 days and must wave a quarantine flag known as the “International Maritime Signal Flag L-Lima.”

For a ship docked in a harbor the flag means, “The ship is quarantined,” while at sea it says, “You should stop your vessel instantly,” according to online information.
“All sailors know what it is,” said City Communications Officer Tom Shevlin about the flag. There is currently a ship up from Antigua flying the flag in the Newport Shipyard, he said.

Marinas may provide support to the vessels under quarantine under the executive order.

“Travel time for boats coming from either abroad or out of state is not being taken into account for the 14-day quarantine period,” DEM says in its “COVID-19 for Marina, Yacht Club and Harbor Master Guidance” document.

While commercial carriers can come into port, unload materials, and then leave port, the crew may not leave the ship.

Recreational boating is allowed for Rhode Island residents. However, “out-of-state residents may not come into a Rhode Island yard to work on their boat unless they are prepared to quarantine aboard the vessel for 14 days,” DEM says.

At the marinas, use of the facilities is limited to seasonal slip holders only. “Use of facilities by transients and out-of-state boaters should be prohibited,” DEM says.

Out-of-state fishing charter boats may not enter or do business in Rhode Island is another in a long list of restrictions.

“As the summer season approaches, many of you have started placing docks, providing boat service to ready vessels to be placed in the water, and installation and preparation of mooring fields,” DEM said in a statement. “Although these are non-essential and elective, these operations are an important part of our economy and way of life.”

“Recreational boating and fishing are ingrained in the culture of the Ocean State,” said DEM spokesperson Mastrati. “They also are important economic drivers: 54,000 boats use Rhode Island waters each year, including more than 40,000 registered in Rhode Island.”

By state law, city or town councils can appoint a sentinel “to hail all ships or vessels which may arrive in that river, bay, or harbor; and if the sentinel shall find that any ship or vessel is subject to quarantine, he or she shall direct the commander of that ship or vessel to come to anchor within the limits of that quarantine ground, and remain there until visited by the health officer, and to place a signal in the shrouds of the vessel in a manner as to be seen at a proper distance.”


The sentinel is “subject to the orders and directions” of state Director of Health Dr. Nichole Alexander-Scott, according to a copy of the state statute sent to the Daily News by Mastrati.

“Any person knowingly violating any of those rules and regulations so made and established shall, upon conviction, be fined not more than fifty dollars ($50.00) or be imprisoned not more than two (2) years,” state law says.

Hundreds of marine businesses and thousands of employees around the state are affected by the new restrictions. Safe Harbor Marinas is one of the boating companies dealing with the new environment caused by the spread of the coronavirus.

“If you are an out-of-state vessel owner, please reach out to your General Manager or Service Manager,” wrote Tim Moll, regional vice president of Safe Harbor Marinas in a statement sent out by Newport Shipyard, a Safe Harbor marina.

“They will make sure that any spring commissioning items that you need to get your boat prepared for the season are completed, or if you want to schedule a launch date,” Moll added.

Besides the Newport Shipyard, which Safe Harbor purchased last year, the national company also owns two marinas in Portsmouth: New England Boatworks in the Melville waterfront district and the former Brewer Yacht Yard marina in Common Fence Point that was rebranded as Sakonnet Marina.

The company’s other marinas in Rhode Island include Safe Harbor Cowesett and Safe Harbor Greenwich Bay, both in Warwick, Safe Harbor Wickford Cove in North Kingstown, and Safe Harbor Cove Haven in Barrington.


There are permitted activities for out-of-state businesses under the DEM rules.

For example, a hauler from out of state can come into a yard to launch a boat. All commercial haulers are permitted to operate and all public boat ramps remain open except for the ramps located in state parks.

An out-of-state boater may come into Rhode Island to take their boat out of state. Boaters also may come in from out of state to pick up a vessel they have purchased.

“The one essential mandate relates to quarantine, namely that any person coming to Rhode Island from another state for non-work-related purposes must immediately self-quarantine for 14 days, except for public health, public safety, or healthcare workers,” said the Rhode Island Marine Trades Association in a written statement about the DEM rules.

In the event that a vessel arrives at a marina unannounced, they must be provided with the state Department of Public Health documents given to all out-of-state travelers, and be directed to the website health.ri.gov/covid/

These measures “will allow for business operations, provide safety measures for your staff and ensure that we are all doing as much as we can to prevent the transmission and spread of this historic influenza,” DEM says.
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Old 16-04-2020, 18:12   #3
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Re: Coronavirus - Commissioning in Maine sailing nonstop to Rhode Island - can I?

Thank you for the prompt reply. I read the same regs for RI today and truly appreciate the detail. Our friends in Connecticut are miffed because this limits non-Rhode Islanders (pretty much the entire world) from enjoying Newport or Block Island for at least the early boating season.
My question is why has Maine not advanced similar regs? Clearly Maine is a marine oriented state but I cannot find any regs and “non-essential travel” is banned in Maine— punishable by up to 2 years in jail. No laughing matter if we are trying to collect our vessel and bring her home.
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Old 16-04-2020, 18:34   #4
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Re: Coronavirus - Commissioning in Maine sailing nonstop to Rhode Island - can I?

Maine Gov. Mills extends Stay At Home civil emergency orders until May 15 [from its previous through May 4th date].

Closure of all non-essential businesses.

Travel: Persons traveling in private vehicles shall limit passengers to persons within their immediate household, unless transporting for medical necessity.

Gov. Janet Mills is talking with the governors of New Hampshire and Vermont about a collaborative approach to lifting restrictions, based on medical science and public health data.

“For those people who come to Maine, however, my message is clear, you cannot escape the virus by coming here. And while you are here, you are obviously subject to the laws, protocols and orders of the state of Maine,” Mills said.

Maine is one of the last states in New England to impose a stay-at-home order. In the absence of a statewide order, cities and towns such as Portland, South Portland and Brunswick have issued their own stay-at-home orders.

To preserve the public health and safety, to ensure the public health and health delivery system are capable of serving all, and to help protect those at the highest risk and vulnerability,any person, resident or non-resident, traveling into Maine must immediately self-quarantine for 14
days or for the balance of 14 days dating from the day of arrival, except when engaging in essential services as defined in Executive Order 19FY 19/20.
2. The Department of Transportation and the Maine Turnpike Authority are hereby directed to post a summary of this Order at all major points of entry into Maine and on highway message boards. The Portland Jetport, the Bangor International Airport and all other Maine airports, all bus
stations and passenger train stations are also directed to post the substance of this Order.
3. Guidance for self-quarantine may be made available by the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
4. Visitors are instructed not to travel to Maine if they are displaying symptoms of COVID19, and are advised not to travel to Maine if they are travelling from cities and regions identified as COVID-19 "hot spots," including, among others, the cities of Detroit, Chicago and New York City. In addition, residents of the States of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut should refrain from travel to Maine in strict compliance with USCDC travel guidance issued Saturday, March
28, 2020 and any subsequent travel guidance that may be issued during the pendency of this Order.
2
5. For the purpose of clarifying Essential Services as defined in 19FY 19/20, effective April 5, 2020 at 12:00 noon, all lodging operations and accommodations shall close except to the extent of providing lodging for the purposes stated below. Lodging operations and accommodations are
defined to include, but not limited to, hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, inns, short term rentals, such as those made available through VRBO, Homeaway, AirBnb and other services, parks for
recreational vehicles and campgrounds, and all public and private camping facilities. Lodging may be provided only for the following purposes:
a. Housing vulnerable populations, including children in emergency placements, persons at risk of domestic violence, and homeless individuals as permitted by the State.
b. Providing accommodations for health care workers, or other workers deemed necessary to support public health, public safety or critical infrastructure.
c. Use of lodging properties as self-quarantine or self-isolation facilities as arranged by the State.
d. Limited verifiable extenuating circumstances for the care and safety of residents as otherwise approved by the State.
On-line reservations shall be suspended, and lodging providers shall post a prominent notice on their web platforms to advise potential guests that reservations for lodging in Maine, as allowed above, shall be accepted by phone only.
Lodging providers may permit existing guests to remain through the end of their scheduled stay but may not allow stay extensions or new reservations, except for the purposes set forth above.

So it would appear that one would need to undergo 14 day self-isolation in Maine and thence again upon arrival in Rhode Island and each and every time one reenters R.I.
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Old 16-04-2020, 18:41   #5
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Re: Coronavirus - Commissioning in Maine sailing nonstop to Rhode Island - can I?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JimmyDarci View Post
Thank you for the prompt reply. I read the same regs for RI today and truly appreciate the detail. Our friends in Connecticut are miffed because this limits non-Rhode Islanders (pretty much the entire world) from enjoying Newport or Block Island for at least the early boating season.
My question is why has Maine not advanced similar regs? Clearly Maine is a marine oriented state but I cannot find any regs and “non-essential travel” is banned in Maine— punishable by up to 2 years in jail. No laughing matter if we are trying to collect our vessel and bring her home.
Stay At Home are rather a simple set of three words.

Where is the confusion?

Essentially the same for about 3/4 of the world. Borders are closed.

Boat is considered non-essential in most jurisdictions.

The virus sets its own timeline and knows no borders.

For example, Maryland has banned all recreational boating, tends to close the Chesapeake.

Stay safe, stay healthy.
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