social distancing activities on a boat

How Boating Getaways Can Be the Perfect Socially Distanced Activity

Written by Boatsetter Team
January 4, 2021

Last Updated on May 20, 2022 by Boatsetter Team

There’s nothing like being out on the water enjoying the fresh air with loved ones, especially amid the ever-changing guidelines, rules, and recommendations for social distancing. Even if your other vacation plans have been postponed for the foreseeable future, renting a boat with a peer-to-peer platform is still one of the best ways to get on the water while following social distancing guidelines. 

Keep reading for some tips that will help your next boat trip be as safe as possible.

Social Distancing Guidelines

The particulars of distancing recommendations vary from place to place. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the following rules will help avoid close face-to-face contact:

  • Stay 6 feet away from others who don’t live in your household
  • Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands
  • Clean your hands with soap or hand sanitizer often
  • Wipe down surfaces regularly
  • Wear a mask 

Can You Social Distance On a Boat?

Social distancing is certainly possible on a boat, but as you can see from the CDC’s guidelines, it’s wisest to limit the passengers to members of the same household. The number of people you can fit onboard the boat will vary with the boat’s size. For proper social distancing, there should be fewer participants than usual.

6 Great Activities for Socially-Distanced Boating Activities

Half the fun of renting a boat is all the fun stuff you can do out on the water. Here are a few of the best ones that are minimally affected by social distancing:

  • Fishing

Hauling in a fish is incredibly satisfying. Everyone can get involved in this sport, and equipment is available for a small investment. Plus, you can still catch fish in cold weather, so even if you aren’t sailing out from a sunny island port, fishing is an option.

  • Swimming & Snorkeling

When you are sailing in warm weather, find a nice swimming hole and take a leap into the water. As long as you take precautions to steer clear of other boats and out of their path, a quick swim offers a cooldown and some physical activity during your trip.

  • Overnighting

Turn your boat outing into a full-on vacation with a multi-day rental that has a berth where you can get some shut-eye. Passengers will be able to stargaze at night and enjoy a sunrise over the water in the morning. 

  • Tubing & Water-Skiing

Although it requires additional equipment, sailing over the water on an inflatable or water skis is an exhilarating activity. Watching people take a spill into the water is hilariously enjoyable for the people still on the boat.

  • Dockside Takeout

Dining at Al Fresco is relaxing and social for everyone on the boat. You can help local businesses by ordering from a dockside restaurant and picking it up to eat on the deck.

  • Explore

Whether you rent a boat in Miami or a northwest city like Seattle, driving around and seeing the locale from the water will give you a new perspective and let you take in all kinds of natural beauty that you rarely get to see on land. Just make sure you keep an eye on the fuel level and don’t get yourself lost!

How to Social Distance With A Boat Rental

social distancing on a boat

Some activities like flotillas and beach parties will have to wait until social distancing is no longer a reality, but you can follow these particular steps to have a great boat adventure until then.

  • Clean Regularly

Fishing equipment, floats, lifejackets, and the boat itself are just a few things that you should make sure to clean thoroughly after use. Take extra care to use cleaning materials that don’t cause any damage.

  • Keep Your Hands Clean

Hand sanitizer is the best way to do this on a boat, but when the boat isn’t moving or if you’re swimming, you can also clean your hands in the water. 

  • Don’t Touch Your Face

Sailing in the bright sunshine can work up a sweat, so make sure you bring a handkerchief of some kind so you can wipe your brow without touching your face. Gloves can help, but if you don’t take the time to clean them once and a while, you could still spread germs with them. 

  • Take a Test

Make sure you aren’t sick before you go and that you haven’t caught anything once the trip is over. Not only is this nice for your own peace of mind, but it’s also a considerate move for the people you’ll be sailing with.

  • Book More Hours

All these precautions might lead to slowdowns, so book an extra hour or two to make sure you have plenty of time to do everything you want to on your next boat rental excursion. 

  • Know Before You Go

The situation is constantly changing in many places, so make sure you know all the latest regulations and rules before you go. If you’re planning on renting additional gear or going to a dockside restaurant for take-out, make sure they’re still open.


Most Importantly, Stay Healthy – But Think of Others, Too

Boating is such a fun hobby because it brings people together and allows us to see the beauty of the natural world in an exciting way. Even if we can’t all be together the way we want to, there’s still plenty you can do on a boat rental that’s well within standard social distancing guidelines.

As boaters, watersports enthusiasts, or just people who like to get out on the water, we have to take care to preserve the businesses and activities that make sailing so great. We’ll be back in flotillas and having yacht parties again, but for now, all it takes is a little care and planning to have a good time and stay safe and healthy.

For the good of the people around you, please stay home if you have symptoms or may have come into contact with someone who has tested positive. 

The Bottom Line On Socially-Distanced Boating

All this caution will be worthwhile when you’re out on the water with a few others, maybe watching wildlife or a beautiful sun, perhaps fishing or playing around in the water. Even if you just relax, being on the deck of a boat makes everything you left on land seem remote. 

Sailing across the water and taking in the beauty of the great outdoors is the perfect antidote to the restrictions of the rest of the socially-distanced world. If you follow the advice in this guide, you’re sure to have a low-risk boating adventure every bit as much fun as it always has been.

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