Social distancing doesn’t mean you can’t go outside

By Jim Travers

Note the six feet of space between this kayaker and their paddling partner.

Between squirts of hand sanitizer, maintaining a safe distance from other humans, and pondering the global supply of toilet paper, it is important to remember to take care of ourselves during these trying times – both mentally and physically. 

One way to do that is by taking a break from the hysteria of social media and cable news long enough to go outside, breathe the air, and get some exercise. Doing so is not just possible but can be therapeutic even for those hunkered down at home, regardless if that just means walking around your yard or neighborhood. The beauty of the great outdoors is that there are plenty of places within easy reach of most of us that can provide not just a change of scenery from our homes, but even some inspiration, and the opportunity to feel the sun and fresh air. 

Fish are not known carriers of COVID-19, to the ocean we go!

While it might seem somewhat self-serving for a life jacket company to suggest going out for a paddle or a hike at times like these, that is really not what this is about. The reason many of us are in the outdoor industry is not simply to make a living, it is because we are passionate about the outdoors and the many benefits getting out in nature can bring ourselves and our families. That goes double in times like these. 

Stay healthy, and stay safe.  

Questions about COVID-19 and life jackets? Check out our blog, COVID-19 Update: Information and Sanitation Methods

One thought on “Social distancing doesn’t mean you can’t go outside

  1. mtilifejackets April 6, 2020 / 11:35 am

    This blog and the one about sanitation methods were written before the pandemic and stay-at-home rules really kicked in. It is incredible how fast the world has changed even in just one week. MTI supplies a lot of vests to commercial outfitters. A few weeks ago we thought we were providing information to them and the general public about how to help clean jackets between users. Now we know the sad truth that most outfitters won’t be able to open for months to come. And now we as paddlers are being advised to stay at home – REALLY stay at home. And off the water.

    As Sharon Bloyd-Peshkin writes in her article “Why we didn’t go canoeing today” in the Chicago Sun-Times, “might we be seen by many people as we drove to and from the river with canoes on our car – people who’ve been told to stay at home, people who’ve lost jobs, who can’t see friends and family, who maybe are ill, who maybe are fearing the loss of someone they love, people who would rightly think “Why are you out there at a time like this?” So we put away our paddles and PFDs. Everyone is making sacrifices. Some are huge. Ours, honestly, are small. But we must do our part, we decided, to not only practice physical distancing, but to support the general appearance of physical distancing that normalizes this abnormal behavior and helps keep everyone safe.”

    The knock-on effect of this pandemic is heartbreaking for our paddling communities. An activity that we as paddlers find solstice in is now something to defer in the interests of the greater good The core information of our sanitation post is in line with the recommendations of the US Coast Guard and Life Jacket Association. But at this point, we hope that folks will stay at home to keep safe. This is a good time to go through your gear! Inspect your life jacket for any wear and tear. Are the zippers and clips all in working order? Give your vest its annual application of 303 Protectant to help protect the fabric for the season. Got an inflatable? Use the red oral tube to blow it up and test to see if it’s still holding air properly. Inspect your C02 cylinder. Is the end intact? Are there any signs of rust? If we shouldn’t venture out on the water right now, think about how to spend this time at home with purpose by getting ready for when we CAN once again get on the water.


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