Quarantine flag flown on ships to tell others to stay away.

Click to see the latest from Pepin County’s Health Department.

Update 8/26/20: Pepin county still remains at a low count, 46, with 0 deaths. People are keeping distance and wearing masks inside most retail operations. Take out is available all around, with some sit down places as well. Please do call or text with any questions, 612.850.3069.

As we head into the 2020 sailing season I am looking at all the ways we can make this work for everyone. As you may be aware, WIMNSail has always done private charters, you are booking the boat rather than a seat on a boat. This means that the only people on the boat are me and your group. I have been practicing good social distancing since March 15th. Now when I go into stores I wear a mask, stay away from any and all people as much as possible, my car has both hand sanitizer and wipes, and mostly I just stay home. I live and work alone from my home so that part has been relatively painless.

Boating safety is always a critical consideration whenever you push off the dock, and with all the recent issues regarding COVID-19 many people are wondering if boating is considered a safe social distancing practice. Yes, boating can be a safe social distancing activity, and below I outline my thoughts on how we will do this in 2020.

Please feel free to text or call me with your questions. More information from previous years can be found here.

Here is guidance from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services about opening a business in cooperation with others, click here for the PDF. And here are the current guidelines from economic development in Wisconsin. Know that I will be asking you your preferences and walking you through the experience just as I do about life jackets. The best news is that we are in the open air with less than 10 people and those are the basics.

The Deposit and Gift Certificates:

Anyone who makes a deposit on a trip for this summer can reschedule, even if it needs to go into next year. That’s true for any outstanding gift certificates as well, they will carry over until you use them. You can purchase here.

The Location:

  • The Pepin Marina, in Pepin, WI, is a small marina, about 200 boats, in a small town with less than 900 residents.
  • Pepin is about 90 minutes from the Minneapolis airport and about an hour from Rochester, LaCrosse, and Eau Claire. An easy drive over and back for an afternoon or evening on the water without any stopping required. That is painful to type as I am all about bringing more business to the area, yet feel it necessary to say.
  • We do have two gas stations in town, one of which also sells alcohol (Wisconsin!) and makes sandwiches to order – that’s the BP, right on hwy 35 in town.
  • Yes, you can bring food and drink aboard.
  • If you so desire there are some restaurants in the area doing take-out. The Homemade Cafe is open 7 days a week, while the Harbor View Cafe is doing weekends. There’s also the Garden Pub (the outdoor place on 35), the Pickle Factory (right on the water), and il Forno (at the winery). Please check the various websites or Facebook pages for hours and specifics as I updated this page at the end of April so it’s likely out-of-date.

The Boat:

  • Limit the people aboard to one group. As usual, up to 6 people plus me.
  • Pepin County – where the boat and I live – is still at zero cases as of 4/26/20 (1 now, as of 5/13/20). We are doing a decent job of keeping it at bay, although testing is still woefully lacking.
  • The boat will be wiped down between groups. In general I rarely do more than one trip a day, sometimes two on a busy Saturday, so we also have the sunshine to help with killing any virus off between trips. The goal, of course, is to keep it off the boat entirely.
  • We will be avoiding any other groups on the dock. B Dock is often empty, especially during the week, as many of the boaters are weekend people or when they are around they are out on the water rather than hanging around the dock.
  • You can park right in the marina, very near dock B (see map here). The boat is just 5 slips in, so there are very few boats and even fewer people to walk by to get to your destination.
  • We will have hand sanitizer on the boat and request that everyone “wash their hands” before boarding.

Wisconsin DNR has more information here: https://dnr.wi.gov/covid-19/

Feel free to text or email questions to me.