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RYA welcomes Government guidance on outdoor recreation

by Loretta Spridgeon, RYA 13 May 21:55 BST
RYA welcomes Government guidance on outdoor recreation © Marconi Sailing Club

The RYA has today welcomed Government guidance that sets out the key principles of enjoying the benefits of being outside, while protecting yourself and others from coronavirus.

The risk of the coronavirus being passed on to others outdoors is considered to be low as long as people maintain social distancing. In England you can leave your home to exercise and spend time outdoors for recreation.

All forms of watersports practiced on open waterways, including sailing, windsurfing, canoeing, rowing, kayaking, surfing, paddle-boarding and the use of privately-owned motorised craft (in line with the guidance issued by the relevant navigation authority) are allowed. You can continue to use towpaths for walking, running and cycling, being mindful of other users and people living in boats along the water.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) has today issued the following guidance for the public, providers of outdoor sport facilities, elite athletes, personal trainers and coaches on the phased return of sport and recreation:

The Cabinet Office has also published the following: Coronavirus outbreak FAQs: what you can and can't do.

Sarah Treseder, RYA Chief Executive, says: "We are pleased that Government guidance has confirmed that all forms of watersports including sailing, windsurfing and motor-boating are not only permitted, but are being actively encouraged in England.

"We are aware that marinas, clubs and other venues are working hard to facilitate a safe return to boating activities, although it will inevitably take a while before the full infrastructure is operational. But for our sport to be specifically included in the first wave of the Government's path out of lockdown is a significant milestone as we move forward.

"We understand and recognise that our members' views have differed in recent times - with some members seeking an immediate relaxation of the rules and others expressing the view that it would be imprudent to do so. The RYA has worked extremely hard to ensure that Government, in all its forms, has taken full account of our members' boating activities when considering an easing of the lockdown restrictions.

"The net result for RYA Members, Clubs and other Affiliates is the most positive we could have hoped for and achieved on their behalf. We would like to thank all our personal and affiliated members for their support. It is our combined voice, with over 112,000 members, that ensures your boating interests are consistently represented and considered.

"As we return to the water, we must all be mindful of the potential impact that we could have on other water users and ensure that we do not place unnecessary extra strain on the RNLI, Independent Lifeboats and other emergency services. We can do this by helping to minimise risk and by taking an extra conservative approach to our boating."

There are no restrictions on how far you can travel to get to the countryside. However, you cannot leave your home to 'stay at another home for a holiday or other purpose' which means that staying overnight on a boat is not permitted.

To stay safe, you must take hygiene precautions when you are outside, and wash your hands as soon as you are back indoors, and keep at least two metres apart from anyone outside your household at all times.

Guidance for the devolved administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland differs and therefore Affiliated Clubs, Recognised Training Centres and Sailability groups that operate in the UK outside of England should remain closed until they are permitted by their Government to open. In the meantime, COVID-19 advice and guidance can be found on the RYA website.

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