RYA releases interpretation of England’s newest lockdown

The RYA has released a statement setting out its interpretation of tomorrow’s upcoming England lockdown and how this affects the marine community. In the statement it says that ‘it is clear the government does not want to grant multiple exemptions at this time and is focused on protecting the NHS’.

Although, as the RYA says, the statutory instrument published yesterday is still to be debated in Parliament later today, it will not give boaters and clubs much time to adapt to the latest new reality. As such, the RYA continues to liaise with other marine bodies, government departments, and various partners including Sport England and UK Sport, to get as much clarity and understanding as possible on what this means for boating in England.

Dialogue is also continuing with the Department for Education around the details of what is possible as part of training and education.

The RYA notes that clubs, classes and centres up and down the country have made a huge effort to keep members active and on the water despite the many challenges the Covid-19 pandemic has presented. The RYA and the sports sector throughout have presented strong arguments about the importance of activity during the pandemic, but for the next month most facilities will have to close.

The RYA’s current understanding of the situation (subject to any local restrictions) is as follows:

  • Recreational boating from a public outdoor space for single households and support bubbles or with one other person (with social distancing) may be possible
  • Public waterways and beaches will remain open during the lockdown
  • Outdoor sports centres and amenities (which includes sailing clubs and watersports centres) will have to close
  • Members may be able to access boats for essential checks and maintenance, however, this will need to be agreed with their club/marina/harbour authority, with individuals taking personal responsibility for meeting government guidance
  • University sport will not be taking place
  • School sport will be happening but only as part of organised school activity
  • Some charities may be able to continue aspects of their work
  • There are continuing exemptions for elite athletes for them to train or compete, so the British Sailing Team programme can continue
  • No overnight stays are allowed on boats except for residential berth holders (where the boat is their primary residence) or for business purposes

‘The boating community has proven that it can be trusted to operate in a covid secure manner under RYA guidance and the RYA will continue to stress to government both the low risks of a sport such as boating as well as the positive physical and mental benefits that our sport brings,’ the RYA says.

Updates are expected.

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This article was written and/or edited by the UK-based MIN team.

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