What Is Your Preferred Liveaboard COVID-19 Policy?

What's your personal preferred Liveaboard COVID-19 Policy?

  • 1.) Strong mandates - such as demand negative test 2 days before embarkation and test at embarkation

    Votes: 14 25.9%
  • 2.) Fairly strong mandates - negative test 2 days before embarkation, but not afterward.

    Votes: 5 9.3%
  • 3.) Lax - no required test unless a passenger becomes symptomatic.

    Votes: 7 13.0%
  • 4.) Don't ask, don't tell - no required test, and keep your mouth shut if you get sore throat, etc..

    Votes: 20 37.0%
  • 5.) Other - please explain in your post

    Votes: 8 14.8%

  • Total voters
    54
  • Poll closed .

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drrich2

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Hi. The debate over what COVID-19 policies a liveaboard has or ought to have, especially beyond what the host country requires, has been hotly contentious on ScubaBoard. This thread isn't about deciding who's right (moral rightness isn't a popularity contest). It's about getting a sense of what COVID-19 policies SB divers who go (or plan to) on liveaboard trips prefer be in place. There are pro.s and con.s with any of this. There will be disagreement...hopefully mutually respectful disagreement. See the 7-31-22 thread Liveaboard Covid quarantine- Debate.

1.) COVID-19 vaccines are widely available and illness is usually mild (e.g.: not a matter of hospitalization or death), but a small minority get hospitalized or die. Then again, that's true of the flu (disclaimer: nobody wants the flu, either). There are some concerns about long COVID.

2.) SARS-CoV-2 is so prevalent that random intermittent exposure and occasional infection may simply be facts of life for many, perhaps even most.

3.) We vary widely in our acceptance of risk. Old adage - 'Your rights end where my nose begins' - you don't have the right to put me at risk. But we do that every time we get behind the wheel of a car. Classically depicted as a moral absolute, it's really a bit of a gray area.

4.) To read online debates, precaution sticklers seem to have the lead; to look around Walmart or most anywhere else precautions are optional, lax people seem to dominate.

So I wrote out this poll. A little follow up to some of the options.

1.) Can have you denied embarkation and you likely can't fly home, so you're stuck in a foreign country for a week+ with no accommodation or food arrangements, and there may be no one standing there to come up with a plan. Will the government mandatorily quarantine you somewhere? On what terms? Do you even know whether they will or not?

2.) I had to do this before a Royal Caribbean cruise last July. You buy plane tickets, book excursions if any, have all this multi-month buildup...and don't know till 2 days beforehand whether you can even go. And travel from the U.S. to some destinations takes 2-3 days. Will the airline refund your ticket or reschedule you?

What about the mass of people you encounter at the airport, on planes and shuttles, in restaurants, etc..., between your test and boarding? Or the fact you may've had the virus too soon to test positive when you took your test?

3.) Here unless you get debilitatingly ill (or mildly ill and choose to test yourself and are positive), you fly in and board the boat. You might transmit the virus to someone or they you, but you're willing to take that chance. Problem...if someone gets a sore throat or feels bad and gets tested, and announces a positive result, now what? Are they quarantined (which liveaboards aren't well set up to do)? Is the trip cancelled (and if so, do you get a pro-rated refund)? Does this beat everyone out of flying home? If the company doesn't have a set of backup staff, does the boat cancel the next week? Can you fly home? If not, once you get off the boat, then what?

4.) This option assumes SARS-CoV-2 is circulating everywhere and unless someone is severely debilitated you don't want to let it disrupt your travel plans. So if you get a sore throat, keep your mouth shut. Most people probably wouldn't test themselves, either...full deniability. Rather than write supporters off as selfish, sociopaths, etc..., consider they may reckon the net cost of the disruptions in 1 - 3 greater than the burden of illness risk here, especially since they don't test before getting in line at Walmart, etc... And while you may resent their imposing disease risk on others, they may resent others imposing disruption risk on them with the policies in 1.) and 2.).

Note: I put a 30-day time limit on this poll because the pandemic situation has changed so much so fast that results need to be viewed in the context of a limited time period and situation.
 
Number 3 is inline with CDC guidelines for testing.
 
My pick is #5 though 4 is the closest, but still off.

For anything going forward, covid is with us for the long haul. I believe we should be done with testing for or during any trips and if someone becomes sick (with anything), hopefully they wear a mask while they are around others and feel that there is no need to hide it. Simple.
 
I'd prefer liveaboards with a vaccination requirement and proof of a negative test before embarkation. That's not an option in the poll (and might not be an option in real life either), so I chose #2. Y'all who chose #4 blow my mind.

I do agree that testing after a liveaboard emarks doesn't really make sense, because as you say, what are you supposed to do in that situation?

[Edit I originally voted #1, but #2 seems like a closer fit to my actual preference, so changed it]
 
I'd prefer liveaboards with a vaccination requirement and proof of a negative test before embarkation. That's not an option in the poll (and might not be an option in real life either), so I chose #2. Y'all who chose #4 blow my mind.

I do agree that testing after a liveaboard emarks doesn't really make sense, because as you say, what are you supposed to do in that situation?

[Edit I originally voted #1, but #2 seems like a closer fit to my actual preference, so changed it]

Ew
 
I voted "Other." I answered this in that other thread you linked to. If I were going to take a liveaboard, I'd like to feel there is reasonably high probability I won't get sick and have my expensive trip made miserable. And I don't limit my thinking to Covid. Never mind covid--if you're traveling during cold and flu season, wash your hands obsessively, and stay away from others as best you can in the days before and during travel. Pre-covid, I used to take those very sorts of precautions before traveling to the big family holiday gathering every winter. Now that wearing a mask doesn't make you look particularly weird, wear a mask when you're in close quarters--it can help reduce the spread of colds and flu. For covid, sure, test and test again. We can't stop spread with 100% certainty, but we can reduce the probability, which is all I would like. Nobody wants to get sick on their vacation, let alone one you paid a LOT of money for a single week of diving and possibly traveled halfway around the world to get to.

Now, should all the precautions be required, or should each passenger simply be expected to act responsibly, no differently than if they were traveling to the annual family gathering? I believe mandatory pre-departure testing doesn't tell us very much or help much by itself. Rather, it's all the precautions taken together that will help, and that has to be the responsibility of each of us. It always has been, no matter whether we're talking covid or the common cold. I'll quote my reply from the other thread:

My conclusion about liveaboards in the age of Covid is that it's a major crapshoot. You are really playing the odds no matter what protocols the boat puts in place.

My preference would be for passengers to quarantine BEFORE they get on the boat. You sit in a hotel room for some number of days before setting sail, and get PCR tested before going straight to the dock, donning your N95 mask until you're on the boat.

And since that is impractical--we're not astronauts going to the moon--that is why I have been reluctant to take a liveaboard since the Covid pandemic began. When I finally caught Covid a few months ago my symptoms were flu-like and would have prevented me from diving for several days. I was very glad I was not on a boat because I felt like crap for several days. I don't want my dive vacation ruined by getting Covid, and if I happen to get Covid again and suffer "mild" symptoms as I did, I would like to be able to go home or at least hole up in a comfy hotel room, not a boat cabin. Right now, the odds are too high for my liking to do a liveaboard.
 
I'd prefer liveaboards with a vaccination requirement
Is that in case they get real sick and you have to head back, or for another reason?
and proof of a negative test before embarkation.

For most there would seem to be a much higher chance of acquiring it while traveling to the boat than before they leave home. As such the tests while they would get lucky sometimes, overall probably would miss or incorrectly diagnose more than they catch.

Y'all who chose #4 blow my mind.
On the other side, what blows my mind is people wanting to be around only vaccinated people on a boat. In my opinion it makes no difference on whether covid will hop aboard.
I'm surprised that the majority are so callous that they would not do a self test and let other know if they had Covid when they are symptomatic. I guess I should not be surprised, just very dismayed.
If they are symptomatic in a boat they should be taking precautions to keep others from getting sick anynow, no matter the sickness. But I see no reason to test.
 
...If they are symptomatic in a boat they should be taking precautions to keep others from getting sick anynow, no matter the sickness. But I see no reason to test.
Perhaps to let others know they are at risk. Others may be in a higher risk group for a bad outcome than you are. Does that seem considerate? I don't know your age or other risk factors I'm 68, otherwise pretty healthy. I would appreciate knowing my exposure.
 
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