As you will all be aware England is now in another National Lockdown to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
We have been eagerly awaiting industry specific guidance to determine whether recreational boating is permitted, however it has been confirmed that this maritime specific guidance will not be produced.
It has been interpreted that from Thursday 5th November that: –
- 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.
- 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.
After examining all available guidance from the Department for Transport, Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and industry bodies, we understand that recreational use of vessels is currently permitted for the purpose of exercise.
You must ensure that your reason for visiting your vessel falls within the current UK Government guidance before leaving home, as under the current legislation you must remain at home except for certain exceptions.
Visiting your vessel to conduct routine maintenance or prepare for the winter period is not deemed as essential and is not permitted under the lockdown regulations.
To help reduce the strain on our emergency services and voluntary rescue organisations, please ensure you check your vessel prior to departure.
Visitors to the harbour will not be accepted without prior discussion with the Harbour Authority, or for immediate safety reasons, as government guidance on overnight stays and reducing travel is very clear. However, the harbour remains open for commercial vessels and for commercial tradesmen working on vessels in the harbour.
Using the waterways for Exercise
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has issued guidance, through Sport England, stating that the waterways can be used for all forms of exercise providing rules on social distancing are followed and you follow the permitted gathering limits.
Marine staff will continue to operate, ensuring commercial cargo continues to be imported and exported from Plymouth, as well as conducting daily checks of the harbour and moorings, and conducting all necessary maintenance programmes afloat.
Our harbour staff will continue to operate to ensure commercial cargoes continue to be imported and exported through Plymouth, as well as conducting daily checks of the harbour and moorings and conducting all necessary maintenance programmes.
If you have concerns about your vessel or its mooring, please contact us where we will assist wherever possible.
Industry Body Guidance is available here:
UK Government Guidance – https://www.gov.uk/guidance/new-national-restrictions-from-5-november
Department for Culture, Media and Sport Guidance – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-phased-return-of-sport-and-recreation/guidance-for-the-public-on-the-phased-return-of-outdoor-sport-and-recreation
Yachts and Recreational Boating – RYA – https://www.rya.org.uk/newsevents/news/Pages/new-national-restrictions.aspx
Paddlesport and Exercise – Sport England – https://www.sportengland.org/how-we-can-help/coronavirus/return-play/frequently-asked-questions-about-national-coronavirus