Christmas Decree, when you can go boating and when you can’t


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With the latest DPCM transforming the entire Italian territory into red zone and orange zone, can we go out by boat? On what days? Let us try to understand, following the regulations and common sense, what can and cannot be done during the holidays.

Christmas decree, let’s have clarity

During the festive season from Christmas to Epiphany, all of Italy will go into pandemic protection arrangements coloring in one zone according to the periods:

  • Yellow Prenatal Zone: Dec. 21-23
  • Red zone at Christmas: December 24 to 27;
  • 3-day Orange Zone: Dec. 28 to 30
  • New Year’s Red Zone: January 31 to 3, 2021
  • One-day Orange Zone: January 4, 2021
  • Epiphany Red Zone: January 5 to 6, 2021

Restrictions on travel will also have a direct impact on opportunities to go out boating, let’s see how.

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Can you go boating at Christmas?

During the pre-Christmas days, there is a national ban on traveling between regions, so it will logically not be possible to join your boat in another region. Bad news, for example, for the many people from Lombardy or Piedmont who keep their boats in Liguria, Tuscany, Emilia. No problem, however, for those who keep the boat in their region of residence. Obviously, navigation will have to be daily. Given the ever-present curfew rules of 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. the following day, nighttime recreational boating or access to marinas cannot be justified.

RED ZONE. Forbidden to go out in the boat

During the red zone period of Christmas, New Year’s Eve and Epiphany, all of Italy will be red zone, so Free movement is not allowed except for business, urgent or absolute necessity. Only travel within one’s own municipality from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. for only seeing friends or relatives in a maximum number of 2 persons, or motor activity near one’s own home and outdoor sports activity are allowed, but only on an individual basis.

So, in the red zone, you cannot go out on a boat because no matter how much we enjoy the sea, a sail or motor outing even individually is not contemplated among the reasons of necessity that can be included in the self-certification. According to the text, as in the lockdown period, a “visit” to one’s boat at the dock would not even be justifiable unless there is an absolute necessity (e.g., if you get a call from the marina telling you that your boat is sinking or if there are other emergencies).

ORANGE ZONE. You can, but … better not. Here’s why

During the orange phase, travel within one’s municipality is allowed, so if one is lucky enough to have the boat already moored within one’s municipality, we can definitely go to the dock, of course, only from 05 to 22.

Can we go out in the boat during the orange phase? The text is of doubtful interpretation, some claim it is possible to go out by boat (Solo? Maximum of 2 as in a car? With the limitations on spacing? With a mask requirement?), as long as you do not cross the boundaries of the municipality during the outing.

However, this interpretation clearly violates the “recommendation to avoid unnecessary travel during the day within one’s municipality” found in the original graphic that defined orange zones.



In addition, the real wrangling knot is related to theextent of municipal boundaries at sea. Also on previous occasions, and in many blogs on the subject, the Ministry of Transport Opinion No. 8800 of September 2, 2014 where it is written “
The municipality also has jurisdiction over the territorial sea, where the powers of the state are exercised concurrently with those of territorial authorities and regions
“. According to this note, the municipal limit would extend over the sea facing the municipality to 12 miles. However, this opinion was not given in the current pandemic context or on navigation regulations, and rather responded to administrative and taxation issues, for example, on the regulatory competence of scattering ashes of the deceased at sea.

The current DPCM does not include any explicit authorization for recreational boating, nor does it explicitly authorize movement within the maritime zones or maritime districts that normally subdivide the Italian coastline. Therefore, it would not be possible to give up moorings for recreational boating, even within one’s own municipality.
It finally becomes difficult to interpret then, the possibility of movement across municipal boundaries for those small municipalities within a 30km radius, in the context of navigation!

For these reasons, in order to avoid any unpleasant surprises or penalties, common sense as boaters should suggest that it is better not to go out by boat even on orange zone days, not only because of the regulations, but also for a reason that is more marine than bureaucratic: in case of a breakdown or bad weather, can we guarantee with certainty that we can safely return to our municipality’s port of departure?



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