New Hanover County closes public, private boat ramps and marinas
NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — All public and private boat ramps and marinas within New Hanover County will be closed for 10 days.
The amendment closes all public and private boat ramps, and public and private marinas within New Hanover County beginning today, April 3, at 7:30 p.m.
A lot of boaters found out the news on the water just hours before the ramps and marinas were set to close.
“To take away somebody’s ability to go fishing, to take their family out on the boat,” boater John Buechele said. “People who are already together, I think is appalling.”
These additional restrictions are intended to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and are specific to motorized boats; it does not apply to kayaks, paddle boards, or other non-motorized boats.
“Hearing they closed the boat ramps as well is a little shocking,” Brooks Robinson, who just bought his boat this week, said. “Very disappointed. We were really looking forward to getting on the water.”
Commercial fishing operations, boating use by governmental entities for public safety, and maritime fuel are excluded from this order.
“Having the beaches closed, it’s a great time to own a boat and be able to not be on the beach, but be on the water,” Robinson said. “So this is kind of a very unfortunate, very frustrating timing.”
These restrictions are being implemented in collaboration with the mayors of the City of Wilmington, Carolina Beach, Kure Beach and Wrightsville Beach, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, and the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. The full amendment can be viewed here.
“It’s a social responsibility for everybody to be safe and to practice social distancing,” Buechele said. “To do everything they can to help mitigate this disease. In order to do that, we still have to have some sort of life.”
“This decision was made with the advice and guidance from Public Health because we are going into another pretty weekend in New Hanover County, and – as we have all seen and heard – people are not listening to the Governor’s Stay at Home Orders and they are congregating in groups out on the water,” said New Hanover County Board of Commissioners Chair Julia Olson-Boseman. “The longer people don’t listen, the worse our community will fare in the spread of this virus. So we have to take decisive actions, and if that means more restrictions then that is what we will do.”
Buechele says it’s frustrating to see some people not following the rules, while many other people are.
“Everybody does have to sacrifice and do their parts, and it’s really a shame that some people don’t or are not taking this as seriously as they should,” Buechele said.
These additional restrictions remain in effect until 5 p.m. on April 13, in keeping with the county’s initial restrictions, unless rescinded earlier or extended.
Public boat ramps include those at: Castle Hayne, Sutton Lake, Wrightsville Beach, Snows Cut, River Road, Federal Point, Trail’s End, and Castle Street.
Public beach accesses at Carolina, Kure and Wrightsville beaches, as well as Masonboro Island, remain closed as well.
“The unprecedented impact of COVID-19 has led to a number of restrictions and closures in our community that we have never seen before,” said Public Health Preparedness Coordinator Lisa Brown. “None of this is easy, but it’s necessary. Public health data shows that physical distancing, along with proper hand washing, are the best ways to protect our community because the virus can be spread even without symptoms. So the more we can do now, the more we can limit potential exposure, the more lives we will save.”
Additional FAQs related to these restrictions have been added to the county’s website at Health.NHCgov.com/Coronavirus.
As of 3 p.m. on Friday, April 3, there are 42 positive cases of COVID-19 in New Hanover County.