As we merge from the pandemic crisis Sailing schools across the country and around the world have had to adapt to a changing landscape. One example of how all of this is being handled calmly and effectively is at Blue Pacific Yachting, an affiliate company of Denison Yachting, owned by Robert Denison and Nereus Dastur, in Marina del Rey, CA. At this ASA Affiliate school, General Manager Mollie Perlman has prepared an inventory of facial coverings, both N95 masks and cloth scarves, brightly-colored Nitrile synthetic rubber gloves which have a higher puncture resistance than latex or vinyl, an assortment of anti-bacterial and alcohol wipes, hand disinfectants, and a non-invasive iHealth PT3 thermometer. All these materials are readily available to her office staff, ASA Instructors, and student clients to help guard against coronavirus infection.
On the office entryway window and inside on the walls, Mollie has posted all the necessary governmental forms that list everything that must happen and every rule that must be followed for Blue Pacific to remain open. She had the furniture re-arranged to provide social distancing and she wipes down high-traffic areas and the restrooms every hour, sometimes every thirty minutes! Everyone who enters the office must wear a facial covering. Anyone who has a high forehead temperature must leave and then call back to reschedule a class. Lecturing in class wearing a mask is somewhat muffled, but everything is fine if instructors and students just speak up and talk more slowly. Out on the boats, masks are still worn offshore, except while hove-to for a quick lunch. Social distancing of “one full fathom” is a little tricky, so onboard crews are limited to only a few total people from one or two households, plus the Instructor, versus up to six mixed households before CoVID-19. Disinfecting hands every hour or so and wearing gloves is also practiced. What’s more, Blue Pacific Yachting has also reduced the cost of private courses significantly to make them more accessible to students who are concerned about the virus and/or are not currently employed due to shutdowns.
Upon return, boats are cleaned and rinsed. Extra attention is paid to specific high-touch areas like the marine engine transmission lever, pull cord, and kill switch on smaller boats, and the wheel, throttle, instruments, DC panel switches, and head fixtures on larger boats. Winch handles, companionway doors, locks, and shore power cords are also wiped clean. Finally, tillers and wheels remain uncovered for cleaning with disinfectant and exposure to sunlight. After an ASA class ends, boats remain untouched for a few days before the next class to allow time for at least some amount of the viral load to perish. For now, Instructors and students head for the restroom to dispose of gloves and to wash hands before touching their car keys and steering wheel for the drive home.
As ASA Affiliates in many places emerge from Low Season into their busiest time of year, only to be confined by this viral pandemic, ASA is very fortunate to be affiliated with academies, clubs, schools, and charter companies with owners like Bob Denison, Nereus Dastur, and their General Manager Mollie Perlman at Blue Pacific Yachting.