Boaters urged to respect rural and island destinations

As lockdown continues to be eased across Scotland, a joint plea has been made by marine tourism and sports groups for boaters and water users to have full consideration and respect for the destinations they plan to visit.

A campaign titled #RespectTheDestination has been launched by Sail Scotland, RYA Scotland, British Marine Scotland and Wild Scotland. It’s being promoted across social media channels to remind boaters of the different arrangements, levels of service and local access controls that may be in place at popular sailing and boating destinations.

“Through our dealings with a wide range of island and coastal businesses, moorings, harbours, commercial boat operators and destination groups, it became clear different locations were moving at different speeds when it came to re-opening and welcoming visitors,” says Sail Scotland CEO, Alan Rankin.

“Marine tourism activities bring significant economic benefit to many rural locations and will play a vital role in recovery from the catastrophic impact Covid-19 pandemic has brought to these communities. Working with other industry partners, we hope marine tourism is seen as a force for good and those taking to the water in the coming weeks put the wishes of communities foremost when planning trips.”

The key messages within the campaign are:

Plan Ahead
Make sure the planned destination is open to visitors as there may be reduced services such as limited or no fuel supply, water, showers, or step-ashore might not be welcomed. Some moorings may not yet be in commission, and launching or landing places will have some form of hygiene regime.

On Arrival
Approaching pontoons should be carried out after prior approval and allocation of a berth by the operator of the facility. Vessels anchoring or mooring should follow local access guidance.
Consider wearing gloves or apply additional cleaning measures when launching and landing, or handling mooring or berthing equipment.

Think Local
Crew and guests should adhere to local guidelines regarding ability to leave the vessel and go ashore. Consider wearing a facemask and, above all, respect local restrictions and controls.
Local businesses can arrange supply of produce to visiting yachts. Check ahead and, where possible, buy local.

“Scotland has some of the best sailing grounds in the world and we have seen some of the best spring sailing weather in years lost to lockdown,” says James Allan, CEO RYA Scotland.

“Whatever your craft, wherever you are planning to go, Covid-19 has not gone away and we need to remain mindful of the impact of our presence as visitors in small local communities and coastal and island communities.

“#RespectTheDesintation is about being considerate of others and giving thought to how they might feel about us visiting. Our choice of destination is always someone else’s home and we are the visitors, we should always respect that. It is also about doing our bit to help restart those small economies that depend so much on us coming to visit. Where possible, we are encouraging the boating community to shop locally and contribute to the local economy.”

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