The RYA is working on a range of guidance and resources to help our members and the wider boating community prepare for a return to the water. These resources will ensure you can return to activities on the water as quickly and safely as possible.

While the detail of Government plans for easing restrictions are not yet known, the RYA is  developing the following ‘guiding principles’ that will shape their detailed response:

“1.  We will always follow Government guidance

The COVID-19 preventative measures are vital to protecting health and well-being and to minimising pressure on the frontline services. We all have a role to play by following the Government guidelines.

We will provide advice to show how the latest measures on social distancing, hygiene and travel can be applied to boating, showing examples of the level of activity that each phase will allow.

We are mindful that Home Country Governments may issue their own phased plans and measures. Additionally, as we have seen to date, local authorities, harbour authorities or marinas may also interpret guidance differently. We will carefully review any industry specific guidance that impacts on boating activities, such as advice for the sport and hospitality sectors, as well as paying particular attention to any guidance for specific sections of our community.

Where the application of Government guidance is unclear, we will seek clarification on your behalf so that all boaters and activity organisers are kept informed.

2. We will, as a boating community, take a considerate and conservative approach

•  Considerate: be mindful of the potential impact that you could have on other water users and do not place unnecessary extra strain on the RNLI and emergency services.

Consider the local area and whether there is a risk that you could put extra pressure on the RNLI or frontline services. For example, are you in a very remote location? Is the area very busy? Look out for others such as families on beaches or people on other boats and think about how your activity could help or hinder them. For example, windsurfers or kiteboarders who launch from the beach should give extra space to beach users. Boaters should keep an eye out for others, and be ready to assist if trouble arises.

•  Conservative: help to minimise risk by taking an extra conservative approach to your boating.

Our guidance on safety remains unchanged: know your limits; look after yourself; keep in touch and, above all, have a plan. As we start to get back on the water, we will be advising boaters to take an even more conservative approach when planning to go afloat.

Looking ahead

We share our members’ enthusiasm for a return to boating once we start to see a relaxation of the current restrictions. Getting afloat undoubtedly benefits both mental and physical well-being and we believe that with appropriate measures, a basic level of safe and responsible activity can be delivered to get you active on the water.

We remain committed to representing the interests of the recreational boating community and we eagerly await the Government’s announcement on Sunday.

Our members, affiliated clubs, classes, and recognised training centres will receive a further update as soon as we have reviewed the Government’s plans and their impact on boating activities.

Thank you for your continued support and don’t forget to visit our Coronavirus hub for all the latest news and advice.

Take care and stay safe. “

Sailing past Eigg (Photo: Greg Carr)