Morse Alpha COVID-19 Status Report – Updated Feb 2021

Feb 28, 2021 Update

Gov. Janet Mills said that Maine will base eligibility for COVID-19 vaccination on age moving forward, replacing a previous system that prioritized vaccine shots for individuals with high-risk medical conditions or who worked in front-line jobs.

Under the new plan, all Maine residents between 60 and 69 will be eligible for vaccination starting Wednesday. The decision provides access to vaccines for an additional 200,000 Mainers even as the state continues to vaccinate the estimated 193,000 individuals 70 and older who are currently eligible.

Looking ahead, Maine expects to make vaccines available to those 50 and older in April, to those in their 40s in May and to those in their 30s in June. Individuals under 30, including children if a vaccine is authorized for them, will be targeted in July and beyond, according to the time frame outlined Friday.

Mills and Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said the controversial decision to adopt an age-based system stems from scientific research showing that age is among the strongest indicators of serious illness or death from COVID-19. More than 85 percent of COVID deaths in Maine have been among those 70 or older, and 98 percent were over 50.

For more info about Maine’s vaccination policies click here.

Feb 1, 2021 Update

The good news it that testing is readily available with much faster results and vaccines are becoming more common every week. Ben just had a rapid test at the local Walgreens and received results that same afternoon. Negative of course.

All our crew & students will be required to take a Covid-19 test and receive a negative result within 72 hours of boarding Rocinante (both PCR and antigen tests are acceptable) or have received the Covid-19 vaccine. Maine now has rapid testing at the Portland Airport, and the Rockland Walgreens (drive-thru), as well as many other drug stores throughout the state. We can help find a testing site that will work for your travel plans.

Additionally, we will send a pre-screening health checklist before your expedition.

We want you to feel comfortable and safe with our procedures while aboard and we want to ensure all our crew can sail with peace of mind. As the 2021 season approaches, we ‘ll keep you updated on any changes in protocols that we or the State make. Please feel free to call or email us with any questions.

June 22, 2020 Update

The coronavirus pandemic is an ongoing concern that we at Morse Alpha LLC continue to monitor closely. COVID-19 is contagious and is believed to spread mainly from person-to-person contact.

At Morse Alpha Expeditions, we will be complying with all Maine State requirements for Vessel Charters as listed in the COVID-19 Checklist for Vessel Charters. To ensure a successful passage, sailors rely on a strong commitment to safety from every person aboard. It is that sense of camaraderie and trust in your shipmates that will keep us all safe during the expedition. Because of COVID-19, this extends to the days and weeks leading up to the expedition. Below is our Commitment To Safety Guide. Please read it thoroughly.

As a shipmate on a Morse Alpha LLC expedition, I promise to do the following:

● I will submit a Certificate of Compliance to Ben Carey prior to boarding Rocinante. This certifies, in accordance with Maine State regulations, that I have quarantined in Maine for two weeks, or have taken a COVID-19 PCR type test in the past 72 hours and received negative test results. I will also submit the results. Find a Test Center near you.
● To minimize contact while traveling to the boat and in the two weeks leading up to the expedition, I will wear a mask in public spaces, keep a safe distance of six feet whenever possible, carry hand sanitizer and use it frequently, and avoid crowded spaces and large events.
● I will inform captain Ben Carey if I experience any of the following symptoms during my expedition or in the two weeks leading up to the expedition. I understand that this could mean I would not be allowed to continue to participate in the expedition. The symptoms include cough, sore throat, fever, shortness of breath, loss of taste or smell, being
around someone diagnosed with COVID-19 or exhibiting these symptoms.
● Additional items to pack for the expedition: personal mug (lid recommended), fork, spoon, small hand sanitizer for travel, water bottle, sunscreen, 3 or more face coverings.
● I understand that if I am ever feeling unsafe or uneasy, I will communicate this to Ben or Teresa Carey who may add additional safety measures.
● I acknowledge that participation in a Morse Alpha LLC Expedition is voluntary and I can disembark at any time by informing the captain who will take a reasonable amount of time to make landfall at the nearest safe, sensible harbor.
● I accept that my expedition could end at any time, without notice.
● I accept that I will be expected to wear masks during reasonable times below decks. However, due to the nature of a Morse Alpha LLC expedition, the necessity of being able to communicate, and the size of the vessel, I know that it won’t be possible for everyone aboard to wear masks at all times, nor for everyone to remain 6 ft apart at all times. I accept this.

I understand and accept the following measures that Morse Alpha LLC will put into place to reduce the spread of COVID-19:

● SV Rocinante will be available to expedition members a day prior to the expedition at no additional cost. This will minimize your contact with others (such as at restaurants or hotels) prior to the expedition. A simple
dinner will be provided.
● All crew and participants of a Morse Alpha LLC expedition will undergo a COVID-19 symptom and/or temperature check prior to boarding the vessel and each day during the expedition. We will check for the following symptoms: cough, sore throat, fever, shortness of breath, loss of taste or smell.
● Morse Alpha LLC will abide by the twice-daily cleaning recommendations and other protocols laid out in the COVID-19 checklist for charter vessels.
● If one person on the expedition exhibits any COVID-19 symptoms they will be required to wear a face mask and stay more than 6ft away from the others (which means in a cabin berth or designated space above decks). Everyone will be transported to the nearest reasonable harbor and the expedition will end.
● Meals and lessons will be conducted above decks whenever possible.

April 5th Update

We are all experiencing an expedition into the unknown with the spread of coronavirus. The wind is shifting. There is a dark line of stratus clouds on the horizon. But we don’t know what the shift will bring. We sincerely hope you all are tucked into a safe anchorage and taking the necessary precautions to help mitigate the effects of this pandemic.

As of April 1st we have cancelled our first two expeditions (May 23 and June 6), and our enrolled students have switched to later season expeditions. We are so grateful for their flexibility and willingness to work with us through this crisis.

We hope the rest of our season will proceed as planned, with our first expedition starting June 23rd in Maine. We’ve added another offshore expedition in August to our schedule when we expect things to be back to “normal”. We may add some southbound expeditions in the fall, perhaps to the Annapolis Boat Show. If you are interested in that expedition, please let us know. If we have interest, we will definitely do it!

We don’ t know how this will play out, but we are staying positive and looking forward to getting out sailing! In the meantime, we have been working on Rocinante. She’s getting a new color scheme, new radar, new jib, and of course we’re taking care of a few routine maintenance items.

Please keep an eye on our website, Instagram and facebook for updates, new expeditions, schedule changes, etc.