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Coronavirus 'A return to boating'?

Marinas making steps to reopen and the RYA urge boaters to opt a considerate and cautious approach as they return to the water during the Coronavirus pandemic. MBO brings you the latest on what is being described as a 'return to boating' from this Wednesday

In the Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement on Sunday 10th May, he stated that from Wednesday 13th May, the Government wants to encourage people in England to take more and even unlimited amounts of outdoor exercise. The Prime Minister also indicated that people would be permitted to travel to other destinations in order to exercise. "We want to encourage people to take more and even unlimited amounts of outdoor exercise. You can sit in the sun in your local park, you can drive to other destinations, you can even play sports but only with members of your own household." Boris said

Shortly after the announcement, the marina operator, MDL Marinas, released a statement on social media by Managing Director, Michael Glanville saying that it was making the necessary arrangements to reopen its sites and to welcome boaters back to its marinas whilst adhering to the updated guidelines. It added that boating and boat movements were still subject to guidance from local authorities. The company which operates 18 inland and coastal marinas, also issued a video detailing its planned ‘one in, one out system’ for its offices and facilities, plus guidance for movement in car parks and on pontoons.

The Broads Authority has stated 'We understand that the Prime Minister's statement yesterday evening was not entirely clear regarding access to the Broads and nearby areas for boating and recreational purposes." Adding that it hopes to bring boaters on the Broads clarity with a further update by 2pm today (Monday 11th).

The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) has welcomed ‘a return to the water’ saying it understands outdoor exercise ‘will include all forms of boating’. It stressed that 'any activity will still need to be alone or with members of a single household, and social distancing must be followed at all times. The RYA calls on all recreational boaters not only to comply with the regulations, but to act responsibly and to use their common sense by complying with the Government’s guidance to help fight the spread of the virus.' In the press release and 'RYA welcomes return to boating​' news story aired on the 11th May, the RYA state “In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the return to boating has not yet been confirmed” saying it we be working with its Home Country colleagues to monitor the situation and to ‘lobby for a responsible and safe return for boaters in all parts of the UK’.

Full Government guidance, with more details of its three step plan, is due to be published on Monday, 11 May. With this, the RYA hope to provide further guidance for its members, recreational boaters in the UK and abroad, its affiliated clubs and training centres before Wednesday, 13 May, and added where there is ‘uncertainly within the guidelines’ it will seek urgent clarification.

As asformentioned, boating remains restricted in most areas and subject to local authority guidance, with bodies such as the Crouch Harbour Authority and Cowes Harbour Authority still indicating restrictions,  and Motorboat Owner is awaiting on more information and updates from these, what with the release of new guidelines today (11th May). Updates, when available will also be posted and shared via the MBO social media channels, Facebook and Twitter. There are also renewed calls for boaters not to put marine rescue bodies, such as the RNLI and the coastguard, at risk and under strain during the coronavirus pandemic.


UPDATE: Close of play 11th May

The Government has made the 50-page document on the latest guidance accessible online and has made a link to latest advice for England (FAQs). However, clarity is still needed for the boating sector. Motorboat Owner noted that outdoor activities, such as golfing and angling are permitted. The document also states that staying at a second/holiday home is not permitted.

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