On May 18, 2020, Governor Baker began Phase 1 of reopening Massachusetts with an order that will allow for-hire (charter) fishing to resume on May 25, 2020.
The order included a document that provides guidance for operators of for hire fishing and charter vessels on how to implement workplace safety standards and other public health guidance.
With respect to for hire and charter fishing, the Order provides that no more than ten people, including any captain and crew, are aboard a single vessel at any one time. This means that vessels with more than 10 passengers and crew are not allowed to operate at this time. In addition to complying with the aforementioned limitations, operators must implement safety measures that fall into four distinct categories: social distancing, hygiene protocols, staffing and operations, and cleaning and disinfecting.
The application of these measures to for hire and charter fishing is detailed below.
I. Social Distancing
Passengers and crewmembers must wear cloth face coverings that meet the recommendations
contained in DPH/CDC guidance.
Crewmembers shall clean or dispose of face coverings in accordance with DPH/CDC
For hire vessels shall remain a safe distance apart. Tying boats or other crafts together is
prohibited. All local rules, regulations, laws, and Coast Guard requirements still apply.
Passengers and crew members must abide by social distancing protocols of at least six feet
between individuals. Passengers and crewmembers from the same household are not required
to social distance from each other.
Stagger lunch and break times, regulating maximum number of people in one place and
ensuring at least 6 feet of physical distancing during any meeting.
Face coverings are required for all workers, except where doing so may introduce a safety
hazard to workers or where an individual is unable to wear a face covering due to a medical
condition or disability.
Minimize the use of confined spaces (e.g., elevators, control rooms, vehicles) by more than
one individual at a time; all employees in such spaces at the same time are required to wear
II. Hygiene Protocols
Ensure access to handwashing facilities on site, including soap and running water, and allow
sufficient break time for employees to wash hands to frequently; alcohol-based hand
sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol may be used as an alternative
Crewmembers must provide to customers handwashing capability or sanitizer on the vessel.
Frequent handwashing by employees, and an adequate supply of soap, disinfectant, hand
sanitizer, and paper towels must be available.
Crewmembers must provide for hourly touch-point sanitization (e.g., workstations,
equipment, screens, doorknobs, restrooms).
Vessel captains must provide training for crewmembers regarding the COVID-19 Mitigation
Plan, train their crewmembers in basic hygiene practices, such as frequent and thorough hand
washing, respiratory etiquette (e.g., covering coughs and sneezes), and discourage
crewmembers or passengers from using others’ personal property, work tools, and equipment.
Supply employees at workplace location with adequate cleaning products (e.g., sanitizer,
Require regular and not less than daily cleaning and sanitation of all high-touch areas such as
workstations, door handles, and restrooms
Post visible signage throughout the site to remind employees on the hygiene and safety
III. Staffing and Operations
Vessel captains must conduct pre-shift staff screening and maintain staff screening log.
Passengers must bring their own food and drinks onboard. Food and drinks must be kept
separate from the crew’s food and drinks.
Passengers and crewmembers should not pass or share fishing rods or equipment, to the
maximum extent possible.
The vessel captain must establish a COVID-19 Mitigation Plan addressing the practices and
protocols to protect staff and the public.
Signage must be posted on the vessel to notify the public of the vessels COVID-19 Mitigation
Plan and clearly state that any person with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 may not
enter the vessel.
Provide training to workers on up-to-date safety information and precautions including
hygiene and other measures aimed at reducing disease transmission
Limit visitors and service providers on site; shipping and deliveries should be completed in
designated areas, outside the facility if possible
Log everyone who comes in contact with site to enable contact tracing, including customers
Employees must stay home if feeling ill.
Employees who are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 according to the Centers for
Disease Control (e.g., due to age or underlying conditions) are encouraged to stay home
Encourage employees to self-identify symptoms or any close contact to a known or suspected
COVID-19 case to the employer
Post notice to employees, workers, and customers of important health information and
relevant safety measures as outlined in government guidelines
IV. Cleaning and Disinfecting
Conduct frequent cleaning and disinfection of vessels and associated boarding site.
Keep cleaning logs that include date, time, and scope of cleaning
Conduct frequent disinfecting of heavy transit areas and high-touch surfaces (e.g., doorknobs,
In event of a positive case, shut down site for a deep cleaning and disinfecting of the
workplace in accordance with current guidance