PORTSMOUTH, R.I. (WPRI) — A yearly celebration of boating life is planned for this weekend off the coast of Prudence Island, but given the current public health situation, law enforcement officials are discouraging people from attending.
The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management and Portsmouth Police Department sent out a joint notice on Wednesday to advise boaters against participating in Aquapalooza on Saturday, July 25, in Potters Cove.
In addition to the potential health risks associated with COVID-19, police sought to remind boaters of Gov. Gina Raimondo’s mandates on social distancing and social gatherings which were put in place to prevent the disease from spreading.
During her weekly briefing on Wednesday, Raimondo said crowding has been a recurring problem on boats and at bars, and she urged people to limit gatherings to no more than 25 attendees.
“It’s not just about you,” Raimondo said. “It’s about what you’re doing that hurts other people and I’m asking you, please, to try harder and just obey the rules.”
For those who decide to put their boat in the water this weekend, police also said they’ll be stepping up enforcement in the area.
“The Portsmouth Police and RI Environmental Police, along with several other law enforcement agencies, will be vigorously enforcing boating safety and rules/regulations in order to maintain the safety of the boating community and to protect public health throughout Rhode Island,” the notice read.