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.”