Here in the state of Washington, our governor declared a state of emergency in response to the spread of the COVID-19 disease and imposed a Stay Home—Stay Healthy order. There are four “essential activities” for which we may leave the safety and isolation of home, and the last of them is: “Engaging in outdoor exercise activities, such as walking, hiking, running or biking, but only if appropriate social distancing practices are used.” Rowing has long been one of my normal forms of exercise and it’s certainly a very effective method of achieving the social distancing we’re all now called upon to practice. When I decided to take a break from sitting at my desk working on this issue’s deadline, I rowed my 14′ New York Whitehall along the shore of Puget Sound.

With a bit of kit aboard , the Whitehall is ready for rowing as well as taking a break at anchor.

The ramp I use on the north end of Seattle is adjacent to a popular city beach; the park has been open, but its parking lot has been closed because of the governor’s order. Beachgoers have been parking in the lot by the ramp, a lot reserved for cars with boat trailers. When I arrived with my boat in tow, the place was crowded with trailerless cars; there was just one parking space left. I quickly got the Whitehall into the water, secured it to the dock, and backed the trailer into the open spot. As required, I paid my $12 launch fee at the automated kiosk and placed the permit on my dash. I’m sure it was the only permit in the whole parking lot.

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