Following changes in UK government guidance for England, which allow people to travel to the coast and use the water, the RYA says it is engaging with the RNLI and representatives from the ports and leisure marine industry to help ensure a safe return to recreational boating activity amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Any facilities associated with outdoor sports and physical activities have been permitted to reopen from today, Wednesday 13 May. This includes facilities such as marinas and sailing clubs.
Guidance for English sailing clubs considering a safe plan to restart activity is available on the RYA website, while the devolved administrations have issued their own phased plans and measures.
“In line with Government guidelines for public spaces, the boating community [in England] may now drive to their destination so long as they observe social distancing,” said RYA chief executive Sarah Treseder.
“We welcome the Government’s guidance that general day trip leisure activities are being encouraged and we will continue to work with the RNLI to ensure this is done safely.”
Meanwhile, the RNLI urges people to take extra care when out on the water following the changes in government guidance for England.
‘We are urging anyone who is planning a return to the water to follow key water safety advice’
“We completely understand that people will want to take to the water, particularly as the weather improves,” said Gareth Morrison, RNLI’s head of water safety.
“Our volunteer lifeboat crews are still ready to respond during the public health crisis.
“However, we are urging anyone who is planning a return to the water to follow key water safety advice, which includes ensuring equipment is maintained and functioning correctly, and making sure that lifesaving apparatus is available.
“By following this advice we can work together to enjoy a safer summer and reduce the demand on our crews and other emergency services.”
Boaters are reminded that at present there are no RNLI lifeguards on UK beaches — and anyone visiting the coast is urged to understand the risk and takes the necessary steps to keep themselves safe.
“As we start to get back on the water, we advise boaters to take a considerate and conservative approach when planning to go afloat,” Treseder added.
“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. Finally, proper preparation will prevent accidents and is a vital step to getting back on the water safely.”
Yesterday the RYANI said it continues to support the Northern Ireland Executive’s guidance on lockdown measures. The Executive has published a roadmap to recovery in which step one allows for ‘activities’, but there is no timetable for when this begins.
Some sailing activity will return in the Republic of Ireland with the first relaxation of movement restrictions next Monday 18 May.