2020 has been a difficult and ever-changing year so far, as COVID-19 has caused workplaces to be constantly adapting and shifting. It can be difficult to know the proper way to proceed as a workplace in these turbulent times. In this article, we take focus on the guidelines as they apply to the opening of marinas, with the focus on keeping employees and customers safe. 

This article is based on the Guidelines on Health and Safety for Marinas During COVID-19, which are based on the principle that employers and constructors have obligations to protect workers from hazards as set out in the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OSHA). 

Best Practices

Above all, marinas want to ensure that before they open, they are prepared to operate in a way that adheres to the best practices of minimizing the risks as they apply to COVID-19. This includes being prepared so that employees will follow best practices for minimizing spread. This includes physical distancing (of 2 metres), proper hand hygiene, sanitizing surfaces and objects, and preventing contact with those potentially infected. 

Any operating procedures or guidelines should be taken with these best practices in mind. As well, “controls” and evaluation metrics should be established to consider how effectively these practices are working as they progress. 

Recognize and Assess

It is important, as a component of any effective strategy, that employees are able to identify and assess COVID-19 risk factors and symptoms. It is also important that they understand how the virus is transmitted, and how to minimize that risk. Information about these factors can be found at http://www.ontario.ca/coronavirus

Specific Considerations

In accordance with the best practices outlined above, there have been specific recommendations developed for the proper opening of marinas, which are found in the Guidelines. In this section, we will outline the recommendations as they apply to opening marinas so that they can be run effectively and safely: 

  • Develop online reservation systems so that customers can pick up and launch their boats. Allow adequate time between bookings to eliminate contact between different groups of customers. 
  • Require physical distancing between employees and customers whenever possible. 
  • Organize for touchless process for delivery of sold boats, delivery of parts, and boat servicing. This could even include home delivery. 
  • Establish physical distancing procedures for employees within an enclosed space or when providing customers directions, instructions, refueling, or removing waste from head/holding tanks. 
  • Only trained marina employees should handle refueling procedures, and should be provided sanitary wipes to use on fuel and marina equipment after each use.
  • Train employees in keeping all surfaces and objects which are in use sanitized, and ensure employees sanitize after each transaction or use. 
  • Train employees on possible transmission points, and how they can mitigate the risk.
  • Discourage or restrict customers from entering marina store or offices. Perhaps provide a supply of important goods to be sold outside, or manage the amount of customers allowed into the store at once, as well as enforcing social distancing. 
  • Discourage the practice of customers purchasing non-essential goods (non-fuel) when possible. 
  • Encourage non-contact payment, such as pre-payment, or tap payment. 
  • Assign employees to monitor and enforce distancing and sanitization guidelines. 
  • Minimize amount of employees working at once, and allow employees to distance themselves. 
  • Screen workers regularly for health issues, and ensure that they are aware of the signs, symptoms, and risk factors. 

This is a summation of many of the most important factors as they apply to the opening of a marina in 2020. As is evident, there are many special considerations and guidelines which should be put in place for employees and customers. 

However, it is important to note that each workplace is different, and each marina will have to consider these recommendations in the context of their own specifications and employees. It is recommended that they follow these guidelines as close as possible, with paramount consideration to the Best Practices mentioned above. If you are in need of more clarification, check the Guidelines
And remember, workplace procedures and risk mitigation techniques are constantly changing as the situation develops. So be sure to continue to monitor updates, as well as new recommendations from Workplace Safety & Prevention Services.