June 3 2020
The entry into force of decree N°2020-663, which repeals the decree of 11th May last, relating to pleasure boating and which indicates the general measures necessary to deal with the Covid-19 epidemic, removes the authorisations that mayors or local elected representatives had to file with the services of their departmental prefectures of attachment, in order to authorise pleasure boating.
The "Liberté de Naviguer" (Freedom for Boating) is therefore back in France and this is a good thing, as there is no safer place in these times to please family and friends, in complete safety, far from crowds and gatherings.
If freedom of navigation is required, this freedom can, if necessary, be limited by the Prefects, if the situation justifies it, particularly in the event of a restart of the epidemic or the discovery of a local cluster.
The new decree published yesterday also specifies certain conditions, in particular concerning the wearing of masks and barrier gestures, in maritime and river transport.
While freedom prevails at sea, significant restrictions remain on the transport of passengers by inland waterway. Thus, the circulation of passenger vessels with accommodation - river liners - remains prohibited in principle unless the prefects grant an exemption.
Only boats with accommodation accommodating less than ten people can travel between points located in departments classified as green zones: good news for boat hire companies such as Les Canalous, Locaboat, le Boat or Nautal, which have been gnawing at their brakes in recent weeks.
As regards access to beaches, water bodies, lakes and centres of nautical activities, it is the responsibility of the competent authority, under conditions that allow compliance with the barrier measures and limitations in force concerning gatherings on the public highway.
This means that restrictions may remain and a sanitary protocol will probably be determined locally.