Many have you have written to us with questions related to Covid-19 and the possibility, or not, of paddleboarding during quarantine. As expert in the industry, we would like to advise you on this particular situation. Therefore, we gathered information from various sources found either on Government or Boating/Nautical organizations.
Is it legal to be on the water?
It is not illegal to be on the water. You will not receive a ticket from a police officer by being on the water. However, the government is asking us to stay at home. Canot Kayak Québec even mentions to wait until quarantine is over before practicing any paddle related activities. In fact, all trainings and courses for paddling professionals were canceled until May 31st. It says a lot!
If it's legal, where can I go?
First, remember that government is asking us to stay in our region. That said, if you decide to go out, it is important to choose a water plan that is located in your area. Leave that long-exploratory-weekend-paddleboarding-trip for later during the summer. Choose a water body that you know well, on which you are comfortable and which offers a very low risk of danger.
On Nautisme Québec's website, it is clearly stated that the actual situation is much more complex than we can imagine. Note that pleasure crafts are not prohibited on the St-Lawrence River, except for seaway locks that remain closed as we speak.
As banks are under provincial jurisdiction, watercourses are under federal jurisdiction while facilities on the banks can be both private and municipal. It is therefore necessary to be well informed before going on the water, making sure you are allowed to do so.
In all cases, let's remember we are asked to be patient and to wait until the end of quarantine.
What about security?
Covid or not, security rules apply at all times. Never go on the water alone. If you just can't wait, remember that your SUP buddy must be someone who lives under the same roof. Otherwise, keep in mind that the 2-meter rule does apply here. Do not share a vehicle and certainly do not share a paddle.
On the water, bring everything you need to be as safe as possible: lifejacket, leash, whistle, water, food, sunscreen, hat and clothing suitable for the temperature. Covid or not, you should always have these items with you on the water.
Hand washing remains important even if you are from your paddleboarding partner. Sanitizer? Bring some! You will also need to clean your equipment after you SUP session, using the same products you use at home.
Let someone know of your destination (even if it's right around the block) and give an approximate time of return. Above all, come back before dark!
Now is not the time to explore new destinations. Water bodies are not monitored right now and risks are higher. Just be safe!
What to remember?
Here is a list of what you need to keep in mind:
- It is not illegal to be on the water, but not recommended
- If you do on the water, stay in your area and choose a location you know
- Make sure you have all safety and necessary equipment with you
- Stay 2 meters away from your partner. Easy: a paddle distance length
- Wash your hands regularly
- Wash your equipment when you return home
- Travel in different cars
- Stay on the look for recommendations. Jurisdiction varies by location: banks are provincial, water is federal and buildings/facilities are either private or municipal.
We can't wait to be on the water, we know! Let's just remember that it is by respecting quarantine and social distancing measures that we will be able to return to our lakes and rivers quicker than anticipated.
Until then, put on your wetsuit and try a little SUP yoga in your pool.