Boat ramps reopen in Manatee County

Public boat ramps in Manatee County reopened Monday, but commissioners said if boaters fail to follow social distance guidelines, they’re prepared to close them again.

It’s been two weeks of tension between Manatee County commissioners and local boaters, who were frustrated to learn that ramps were closing.

Boaters took those frustrations to county leaders, who put the issue up to a vote last Friday to reopen the ramps. While those boaters are happy with the result, commissioners advised that the decision is tentative.

“We are in an emergency and you must practice that social distancing and park your trailer appropriately,” said Commissioner Misty Servia, “Follow the rules or I’m sure the board is going to revisit this issue quickly.”

County workers removed the barriers from the Riverside Park boat ramp in Palmetto early Monday, and will be doing the same to the seven other public ramps across the county.