June 13, 2024
Annapolis, US 76 F

NEW guidance on personal, non-motorized watercraft under Maryland Stay at Home Order

Additional guidance has been issued by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources regarding the Stay at Home Executive Order issued by Governor Hogan yesterday.

Generally, hunting and fishing is allowed if it is for sustenance. Recreational power boating and sailboating is prohibited unless you are a live-a-board. Kayaks, canoes, stand up paddleboards, etc. ARE considered exercise and are allowed.

Recreational boating is prohibited until the governor lifts the executive order or until the State of Emergency has ended. However, if an individual is boating to seek food for them or their family, boating is permitted. Boats used to transport essential employees or goods as defined in the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce are also permitted.

Since kayaking and paddle boarding are a form of exercise, they are permitted under the executive order. Guidance on social distancing and the prohibition on social gatherings must be strictly followed.

If your boat serves as your residence, you can remain on the vessel.

Our original report is below in its entirety.


UPDATE:  (9:50am 3/31/2020) We are hearing that further clarification and updated guidance on this interpretation will be forthcoming this morning. Please check back.


The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has released the legal interpretation that recreational boating will NOT be allowed under the most recent Executive Order by Governor Hogan in the battle of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Maryland DNR was very clear in the policy posted to their website last night:

Under the executive order, no Marylander should leave their home except for an essential reason. Therefore, recreational boating is not allowed. Limited hunting and limited recreational fishing and crabbing can continue to provide sustenance, however social distancing must be adhered to strictly. No permits for fishing tournaments, including virtual tournaments, will be issued by the department until further notice. Commercial fishing is deemed essential and may continue since it is part of the food supply chain.

The Department of Natural Resources’ own Natural Resources Police will be enforcing the Executive Order.

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