Boating Guidance for Scotland

Updated 10 August 2021

Most legal restrictions relating to Covid-19 have been lifted on 9 August 2021 when Scotland moved to ‘Beyond Level 0’. This includes restrictions on physical distancing and the size of social gatherings. Additionally, no businesses will have to legally remain closed.

Whilst these changes will signal the end of most restrictions for boating activity, the Scottish Government has advised a set of baseline measures that should be maintained. 

Beyond Level 0 Guidance for Boating in Scotland 9 August 2021 contains the latest RYA Scotland guidance following the further easing of restrictions.

Participants, clubs and centres should be prepared for restrictions to change at short notice and this may result in activity being adapted, postponed or cancelled. Please use the Government postcode checking tool to find out the level of restrictions in your area.

The information within the latest guidance is tailored towards RYA affiliated clubs and recognised training centres as well as individual members and the wider boating community across Scotland and is designed to aid your decision-making process and planning, not to replace it. 

The overriding message for Scotland’s boating community is to minimise risk wherever possible and we must all do our bit to stop the spread of the virus.

Please be respectful that some organisations may take time to open their facilities or may choose to remain closed. Individuals will also have differing comfort levels with restrictions easing and feel uncomfortable being in close proximity with others on a boat. This is important to bear in mind when organising activity and supporting volunteers and staff. 

All planning decisions should be made using this information as assistance and considering both the current advice and all the unique considerations in which you operate. In doing this, clubs and training centres should use risk assessment tools and processes to make the most effective decisions, and individual participants should remain considerate and conservative in their boating choices.

Clubs and centres will also need to make sure that facility staff, volunteers and participants are made aware and can adapt to changes in guidance at short notice. Information on Scottish Governments approach to managing Covid-19 is available at Scottish Government: Coronavirus in Scotland.

All clubs and training centres should identify an individual as the Covid-19 Officer to oversee assessments for grounds, facilities and activity and implementation of mitigating actions and protocols. This is a mandatory requirement for any organised activity.

sportscotland has produced the Getting your Facilities Fit for Sport guidance. This is very pertinent to clubs and training centres in planning for activity. The guidance is applicable to all levels of the Scottish Government strategic framework and can be adapted to support other planning-based work being undertaken by sports, clubs and community organisations. 

If you have any queries about this most recent guidance, please do get in touch with the RYA Scotland Team.

RYA Guiding Principles - applying across Scotland and other Home Countries

These are the RYA and RYA Scotland's guiding principles that will underpin all guidance across the boating community. We would encourage decision makers to use these principles to inform their own decisions during the Covid-19 period.

  1. We will always follow Government advice at Scottish Government
  • The COVID-19 preventative measures are vital to protecting health and wellbeing and to minimising pressure on frontline services. We have a collective and individual role to play by following the Government guidelines.
  1. We will, as a boating community, take a considerate and responsible approach
  • Considerate: be mindful of the potential impact that you could have on other water users and do not place unnecessary extra strain on the emergency services.
  • Responsible: help to minimise incidents and accidents by taking an extra cautious and responsible approach to your boating.

Our guidance on safe boating remains unchanged: know your limits; look after yourself; keep in touch and, above all, have a plan. As the restrictions are relaxed, we advise boaters to think about these factors. The RNLI and the RYA have also worked in collaboration to produce joint safety guidance to help ensure that this summer is as safe as it can be.

The COVID-19 preventative measures are vital to protecting health and wellbeing and to minimising pressure on frontline services. We have a collective and individual role to play by following the Government guidelines.

Remember FACTS for a safer Scotland.

  • Face covering
  • Avoid crowded places
  • Clean hands and surfaces regularly
  • Two metre distance from other people
  • Self-isolate and book a test if you have COVID-19 symptoms

People who are symptomatic should self-isolate for 10 days and household members also for 10 days. No one who is self-isolating should attend a sports facility or activity.