Is Boating Banned in Maryland?


Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan issued among the most stringent stay-at-home executive orders in the nation this week — with an open expiration date — which includes fines of up to $5,000 and a possible one-year jail sentence.

“We are no longer asking or suggesting that Marylanders stay home. We are directing them to do so,” Hogan said in a statement.

But it was the language in the order that specifically prohibits recreational boating that prompted a host of questions from Marylanders as to the activities that would be allowed and those thatwould be banned.

Yesterday, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources created a FAQ page on its website to help boaters, anglers, hunters and paddlers to understand what is allowed under the order.

According to the DNR, recreational boating is prohibited. However, “if an individual is boating to seek food for them or their family, boating is permitted.”

Hunting and fishing are allowed “if you are seeking food for you or your family, but social distancing guidelines and the prohibition on social gatherings must be strictly followed.”

Charter boats and liveaboards are granted an exception. To the former, the FAQ states:
“As part of the food supply chain, charter boats can continue operating but must abide by social distancing guidelines and the prohibition on gatherings of more than 10 people.”

As long as a state park is open, fishing is allowed. A guide to open and closed parks can be found here. Kayaks and standup paddleboards are considered a form of exercise, so they are allowed under the order.

With all activities, the DNR stressed that social distancing rules will be strictly enforced.

As for marinas, certain trades and services are listed in the order. “Companies engaged in the … distribution and sale of oil, gas, and propane products” and “companies that supply parts or provide maintenance and repair services for transportation assets and infrastructure including … marine vessels,” are exempt.

“This is current guidance and subject to change throughout the duration of the public health emergency,” the DNR states.


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