NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The boating sector remains optimistic that it may be able to rebound quickly from the COVID-19 crisis, according to executive director of the Association of Bahamas Marinas (ABM) Basil Smith.
Smith told Eyewitness News said: “We anticipate that just as it was with Dorian and given the feedback we have received the boating sector is to be what I call first responders after all of this is over. All of the airlines are pretty much grounded and the demand has to develop before they take to the sky again.
“They are not going to put empty planes into the sky and hope to be selling tickets. We are optimistic and we understand that demand is building. The feeling is that demand is building for travel and immediately boaters will be able to travel because they won their own transportation. We’re optimistic about that. We don’t expect to see a tidal wave of boaters as we did after Dorian.”
He added: “Most marinas, at least I’m not aware of any, haven’t laid off any staff. The marinas are equipped and ready to go once this thing clears.
Amid the COVID-19 shutdown, Smith noted that the ABM has created The Bahamas Safe Passage Home and Sea Quarantine as a way to help vessels either remain moored or leave Bahamian waters.
“This initiative has been very helpful to boaters who need answers to a lot of challenges to navigate their way through the Bahamas under emergency orders,” said Smith.
The program exists within the existing guidelines of the Bahamian government’s emergency powers orders and service is not offered on days where a total shutdown has been ordered. There are now strategically placed participating marinas through the country available and open to accept vessels if arrangements are made prior to arrival.”