BAR HARBOR – COVID-19 safety guidelines stretch across all corners of life and charter boats are no exception. These companies are up and running in Bar Harbor.
“We’re trying to make the best of it now, and the weather’s been great, cooperating,” said Eben Salvatore, director of operations for Bar Harbor Whale Watch. “The people have been great, so we’re in the height of it as we speak.”
Business was slow at the beginning of the summer but that has since changed.
“It started out slow and also a little later than normal due to the state guidelines,” said Capt. Steven F. Pagels, owner of Downeast Windjammer Cruises. “It’s increased a fair amount since the past few weeks.”
The companies have reduced the number of people allowed on the boats so people aren’t too close to each other.
“On the Margaret Todd, we’re at approximately half of what we’re licensed for,” Pagels said.
“We have a 400-passenger boat that we’re putting 100 people on, so there’s plenty of seats inside and outside,” Salvatore said. “There’s multiple cabins, multiple bathrooms, so with our reduced capacity, there’s lots of free space for people.”
There are markings on the ground at both docks to ensure people maintain a six-foot distance while waiting in line to board the boat.
“Most people wear their masks at all times,” Salvatore said. “We require it in the cabin. Once you’re outside, and you can keep your distance, it’s up to the customer. The crew is always wearing theirs.”
Both said going on charter boats is a safe activity.
“It’s a good experience to get out here,” Pagels said. “Again, you’re out in the open air and salt air at that.”
“It’s a outdoor activity,” Salvatore said. “It’s a beautiful, wide open ocean. The air’s always blowing. The boat’s always moving.”
The companies hope to keep business up for the rest of the season.