After opening, then closing due to the coronavirus pandemic, marinas and boat launches are back open, but with restrictions from the state firmly in place.
“We have been just like, wow. We never thought we’d see this in our lifetime. Thirty years we’ve been doing it,” said Tony DiDonna, who owns South Shore Marina on Saratoga Lake.
It's typically a busy time of year at the marina. DiDonna says the COVID-19 outbreak and a slow response from the state had stalled installing docks.
“Finally, the local building inspector was able to permit us to put docks in, but we couldn’t open to the public at all,” he said.
But amid calls to reopen the state's economy, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced over the weekend that marinas, boatyards and state boat launches can be open. People must adhere to social distancing guidelines.
“Getting out on the lake, you definitely have your social distancing, so you don’t have to worry about that,” said Adam McQueen, an avid fisherman on Saratoga Lake.
McQueen says fishing is more than a hobby for him and his wife.
“It’s a great, great way to get food," he said. "And this source of food is actually good for you.”
At the marina, DiDonna says the back-and-forth is a concern for some of his regular customers.
“They’re quite nervous, financially, too," he said. "It’s a luxury; boating is not an everyday thing.”
DiDonna says he and his staff are moving forward in making sure the marina is prepared for customers once the boating season picks up.
“People certainly need to get outside," he said. "I feel like every outdoor activity would be great. You just have to practice social distancing."
Marinas are not allowed to have customers inside their buildings, and bathrooms must be closed.