Dozens gather at Baraga Marina to protest motorized boat ban

Published: Apr. 19, 2020 at 5:43 PM EDT
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Despite the cold weather, dozens of people showed up at the Baraga Marina on Sunday to protest Gov. Whitmer’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order by fishing out of motorized boats.

According to the order, the use of motorized watercraft, like boats and jet skis, is prohibited as long as the order stays in place. This ban comes after concerns of crowded boat launches and people failing to social distance.

"You can go fishing and practice social distancing, and that's what we're going to show them today," said protester Roger Turunen. "We can fish safely in a motor boat and practice social distancing, and let these guys, especially the young guys that live for fishing, fish.”

In fact, Turunen says fishing is one of the safest activities to do during these times.

"How can you not social distance out in the lake? If you get within 30 yards of someone when you're fishing, they get mad at you because you tangle up their lines," Turunen said.

Another reason for the protest, Turunen adds, is because fishing is an activity loved by many people in the U.P.

"A lot of guys aren't working now, and they want to fish," said Turunen.

Gov. Whitmer addressed the ban Sunday morning on national television.

"Not going to the gas station to fill up your boat, so that you can go tooling around, is a sacrifice, but it is one that is worth it, because who among us wouldn't rather forgo jet-skiing or boating right now if it's going to save your grandparents or your neighbor's life?'' Whitmer said on CNN's "State of the Union.'' "And that's precisely what the trade-off is in this moment.''