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Displaying items by tag: Coronavirus

The RYANI says it continues to support the Northern Ireland Executive’s guidance on coronavirus lockdown measures.

It comes after the weekend announcement by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson easing lockdown restrictions in England only.

The announcement, which followed the Republic of Ireland’s own roadmap towards the restart of economic and leisure activities, included water sports that could resume under certain conditions.

In a statement, the RYANI’s chief operating officer said the NI Executive’s most recent position on Thursday 7 May “outlined no further changes to the current regulations”.

“We must await the publication of any further guidance of the Executive’s ‘plan for a phased, strategic approach to recovery’,” Richard Honeyford said. “The next statutory review of the Regulations will take place before 30 May.”

Honeyford added that the RYANI will continue to support the NI government guidance on the lockdown “as long as necessary to combat the pandemic”.

However, he added that the organisation “believes there is a clear case for boating (sailing, windsurfing, power boating, etc) to be able to resume as part of any easing of restrictions” while following social distancing protocols.

“We have seen the boating community acting in a responsible and patient manner throughout this period. As the national governing body, we urge all members of the boating community in Northern Ireland to continue to do so until instructed otherwise.” he said.

While clubs and training centres in England will be receiving guidance based upon UK Government advice, the RYANI will issue such guidance “only once a full assessment of any future NI Executive recovery plan is made”.

Honeyford added: “RYANI is very aware, that people are eager to get back on the water, but this can only take place once the implications of any modification the current lockdown restrictions have been assessed.

“For now all clubs, centres and participants must continue to follow the current Public Health Agency advice in Northern Ireland to Stay At Home, Keep Your Distance, Wash Your Hands.

“We look forward to the time that restrictions are eased and we can safely return to the water.”

Published in RYA Northern Ireland
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Irish Sailing hopes to have 'more information' early this week on its 'Return to Sailing' document, outlining guidelines for a return to the water as Government COVID-19 guidelines are eased.

In his latest update, dated May 8th, Irish Sailing Chief Executive Harry Hermon now says the government body Sport Ireland has indicated they believe 'sailing will be able to resume in Phase 1 (May 18), subject to the approval of the Irish Sailing plan and the lifting of the Coastguard's current advisory notice'.

So far, the plan has not been published but, as Afloat previously reported, the national governing body has prepared a 'draft document' that it circulated to clubs and classes. It says it is 'a first look' at recommendations for how sailing, windsurfing and powerboating activities may be resumed on a phased basis.

Shore Angling returned at the weekend across the country but boat anglers are subject to Coastguard safety guidelines, which currently recommend avoiding the water for any recreational activities.

The May sunshine, however, brought numerous small craft out at the country's biggest boating centre, Dublin Bay on Saturday. On the water were stand up paddleboards, kayakers and speedboats and a variety of RIBs despite the Coastguard's renewed pleas for recreational users not to go afloat.

Dun Laoghaire Marina, the base for over 500 pleasure craft, has indicated there will be full access to boatowners by May 18th in line with government guidelines.

The number of recorded incidents dealt with by HM Coastguard yesterday has been the highest since the UK was put into lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic in late March, the service has warned.

Friday 8 May saw 97 incidents — a 54% increase over the daily average in the previous month — within a single 24-hour period. This coincided with the start of the UK’s early May bank holiday weekend.

“People are ignoring the measures put into place by the [UK] government,” said Matt Leat, duty commander with HM Coastguard.

“I completely understand that the weather and the bank holiday coupled with the fact that we’ve been in this lockdown situation for just over six weeks has tempted people out to our beautiful coasts.

“However, as the government said only yesterday, it’s really vital that we all continue to observe the guidance.”

Leet said that the coastguard would always respond to a 999 or distress call “but the minute we send in a rescue response, we’re putting our frontline responders at risk as well as putting the NHS under avoidable pressure”.

He added: “Please, please continue to observe the #StayHomeSaveLives message — it’s still in place for a reason. Exercise locally and stretch your legs, not our resources.”

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been criticised today (Sunday 10 May) for changing the coronavirus advice slogan from ‘stay at home’ to the less direct ‘stay alert’. The change has been rejected by the devolved institutions in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport has amended Marine Notice No 06 of 2020 to include an updated annex from the HSE on measures required for all vessels, including fishing vessels and pleasure craft, entering Irish ports.

Masters of vessels arriving from ports outside the island of Ireland must complete both a Maritime Declaration of Health, and an updated Crew List (and Passenger List for passenger ships).

Those arriving in port from other ports located on the island of Ireland no not need to submit the health declaration or crew list, except where any crew member or passenger develops potential Covid-19 symptoms during the course of the voyage.

These symptoms include a fever, cough, sore throat, or shortness of breath requiring hospitalisation. Also requiring notification is where any crew member or passenger has been in close contact with a confirmed or probable case of Covid-19 infection.

Full details of submission guidelines are included in the annex to Marine Notice 06 of 2020 which can be downloaded below.

Published in Irish Ports

RTÉ News reports that anglers are returning to many of Ireland’s most popular fisheries since the first easing of Covid-19 restrictions.

Since this past Wednesday 6 May, as announced by Inland Fisheries Ireland, anglers may fish from riverbanks within 5k of home on most State fisheries (except Galway and Moy) as well as ESB fisheries, provided they observe social distancing protocols.

Boat anglers are subject to RNLI safety guidelines, which currently recommend avoiding the water for any recreational activities.

The National Coarse Fishing Federation told RTÉ News it hopes for a co-ordinated cross-border approach “to opening up our sport” in the coming months, amid fears for the health of the angling tourism industry which remains shut down.

Published in Aquatic Tourism

Waterways Ireland says it is currently planning the roadmap to the reopening of its navigations and the phased return of its workforce.

This plan will involve engaging with various stakeholders, such as user groups and other State agencies, and will be made available by 18 May when the first phase of easing Covid-19 restrictions is scheduled to begin.

“We recognise the situation is constantly changing and we ask for your patience during this time,” it said, adding that any updates to the situation will be communicated via the usual channels.

In the meantime, navigation on inland waterways is now permitted up to 5km from home within the Republic of Ireland only, provided social distancing is observed at all times.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the winter mooring period has been extended until 31 May at no additional cost. Travel in excess of 5km from home to check on moored vessels remains prohibited until further notice.

Electricity and water services have been reconnected following recent flooding issues, and pump-out facilities are available, but service blocks remain closed across the Shannon Navigation, Shannon-Erne Waterway, Royal and Grand Canals, Barrow Line and Barrow Navigation.

Canal towpaths are accessible for brief local exercise, now within 5km of home, with social distancing protocols applying.

“We would like to thank all stakeholders in observing the regulations and restrictions imposed on and along our waterways,” said the cross-border body.

“Your observance of such regulations is having a positive impact on the spread of the virus, releasing pressure on our health services, which are now, more than ever, required to protect those who are most in need. We ask you to continue to keep up the good work.

“Our message to all users of our waterways continues to be PLEASE STAY AT HOME.”

Meanwhile, Shannon Navigation cruiser hire firm Carrickcraft plans to reopen from 20 July to tap into the expected late summer ‘staycation’ market, as reported yesterday on Afloat.ie.

The Royal Cork Yacht Club has congratulated members of its U25 Academy who have been getting involved in UK Sailmakers Ireland’s recent PPE-making efforts.

After closing its Crosshaven loft to customers in mid-March, UK Sailmakers Ireland last month took on the mammoth task of switching from its usual sail wardrobes to scrubs and masks for frontline HSE workers in the fight against coronavirus.

Among those pitching in were Erica Rhodes, Leah Hanlon, Griff Kelleher and David Jones, who earned the praise of their home club on social media.

Published in UK Sailmakers Ireland
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Irish Sailing says it is “seeking clarification” from the Department of Sport as it drafts a plan ahead of the first phase of coronavirus restrictions easing from 18 May.

Chief executive Harry Hermon says the governing body for boating in Ireland wants clarification “on a number of issues”.

This follows the announcement last Friday 1 May of a roadmap for the phased easing of restrictions that have seen sailing and most other outdoor sports and pastimes on pause since mid March.

“Careful consideration must go into the plan as we have a wide number of different stakeholder groups requiring scenarios to cope with social distancing regulations,” said Hermon today (Tuesday 5 May).

“We anticipate that we will have this draft plan to discuss with clubs, centres and members towards the end of this week.”

The RYA has furloughed almost a third of its staff among measures to safeguard its future amid the impact of coronavirus.

In a message to member organisations last week, Richard Falk, RYA’s director of training and qualifications outlined the actions taken by the UK’s national governing body for all forms of boating, which include two weeks of mandatory leave for all staff to “ensure we are fully manned to provide the necessary service when restrictions are lifted”.

Some 30% of RYA staff have been furloughed “so far”, while all RYA-organised events to the end of may have been cancelled. Instructor training and re-validations until the end of May have also been either cancelled or postponed.

“Our focus so far has been on supporting RYA training centres as best we can through such efforts as promoting eSailing as an alternative to keep sailors engaged in the sport, and lobbying the UK Government for support for small businesses and self-employed workers who are currently falling through the cracks of the government’s financial package,” Falk says.

“Clearly we are not out of the woods yet, but we are seeing the partial lifting of restrictions in some countries. We expect further news from the UK Government [in the coming days] and obviously each country is working to its own timetable depending upon its own situation with regard to the impact of Covid-19.”

Falk says the RYA’s emphasis “is now shifting towards the future” with regard to its network of training centres around Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

“We are working on the creation of advice and guidance for RYA training centres to assist with the various measures they may need to consider when thinking about plans for recommencing operations when it is safe and appropriate to do so. This will be in the form of advice rather than mandatory requirements.

“As always, RYA training centres will need to ensure they are continuing to comply with the restrictions and guidance of the competent health authorities in the country in which they are operating.”

Falk adds: “I can assure you that the entire RYA training team shares your anxiety and is experiencing the same sense of frustration and concern over what will happen in the coming weeks and months.

“We remain available to you and wish each and every one of you well as we continue to look towards what a ‘new normal’ way of operating might look like in the future.”

Published in RYA Northern Ireland
Tagged under

In a move that will bring hope to boating communities around Ireland and the UK, harbour authorities in the Channel Island of Guernsey have permitted recreational boaters to sail as part of their daily two-hour exercise window.

The move, instituted from Saturday (2 May), is subject to a number of conditions, including full checking of all boat systems and local weather conditions, frequent cleaning of surfaces and objects touched regularly, and patience in seamanship to sail in accordance with social distancing.

In addition, skippers may only be accompanied by those who reside at the same address — or, where the vessel is sufficiently large enough, with one other person from a different household.

The islands of Alderney, Sark and Helm remain off-limits as per their respective authorities’ measures to control the spread of coronavirus.

And boats must not make landfall beyond the Bailiwick of Guernsey lest they be subject to 14 days of self-isolation upon their return.

Last week it was announced that sporting activities in Ireland would be reactivated in stages from 18 May, but it is not yet clear where recreational boating might fit into this roadmap.

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