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How does social distancing work on a boat? Hennepin County has advice

It's going to be a strange boating season.

Boating season is upon us but this year it will be like no other seen before.

While Minnesota's lakes and waterways remain open to boaters, owners will have some new rules to follow as they enjoy the lakes this year.

In other words, forget the giant boat parties that are common during the summer on, for example, Lake Minnetonka, with the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office saying that beaching or tying up to other boats is not allowed during the Stay at Home order.

And while the order expires on May 4, even in the event of it not being extended it's expected that Minnesotans will have to continue social distancing for many months ahead.

As well as the beaching and tying up rule, the Hennepin County Sheriff is also advising that boaters follow these other rules:

– Only boat with those in your immediate household.

– Do not invite guests onto your boat. This includes family members not in your immediate household and your favorite fishing buddies.

– Go right from your house to the boat and back, avoiding all unnecessary contact with anyone during your trip.

– Do not use a beach, boat ramp or marina that is closed.

"As the weather warms up, there’s a natural drive for Minnesotans to get outdoors,” said Hennepin County Sheriff David P. Hutchinson. 

"We certainly understand and encourage that. However, we are asking everyone to follow a few additional safety guidelines so that everyone heading out onto the water can do so safely. Now more than ever, we need to make sure we’re considering how our actions affect those around us."

It was announced earlier this week that the State of Minnesota was loosening the requirements for its Stay at Home order so that more people in the leisure boating industry would be able to return to work.

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