detail on official timescales, however, was not announced, but indicated the
legislation should be enacted once signed off by the Health Minister
The RYANI has welcomed the
announcement that paves the way for the boating community to return to the
water, where social distancing and other parameters can be strictly adhered to.
The guidance specifically cites social distancing for individuals who do not
share a household contact and where there is no shared contact with hard
It essentially moves water
activity into Step 1 of the Executive’s plan and, once officially enacted,
the legislation allows individuals, or those from the same household, to get on
the water. Further Sector steps were
also announced, including ‘outdoor gatherings of up to six people not from the
same household (…) but everyone must adhere to social distancing and public
RYANI’s Chief Operating Officer
explains: “The change to legislation permitting outdoor activity now allows recreational
activity on the water, where the necessary parameters are in place. We have been seeking clarification from government
agencies and have been assured key messaging is to come out soon. We urge that any activity is always done in
a conservative and considerate manner to help safeguard public
health and not put any additional pressure on the emergency services.
He continues: “Individuals should also
take time to check all their equipment before going afloat. Boats, boards, engines etc. have been out of
action for a period of time, make sure you thoroughly check your boat over and
gradually test your equipment on the water.”
Gareth Morrison, RNLI Head of Water
Safety, adds: "We completely understand that people will want to take to
the water, particularly as the weather improves. Our volunteer lifeboat crews
are still ready to respond during the public health crisis. However, we are
urging anyone who is planning a return to the water to follow key water safety
advice, which includes ensuring equipment is maintained and functioning
correctly, and making sure that lifesaving apparatus is available. By following
this advice we can work together to enjoy a safer summer and reduce the demand
on our crews and other emergency services."
RYANI shared guidance to clubs last
week, to allow some preparations to begin, including undertaking risk assessments
for club-specific activities and facilities.
We would ask that all members of clubs and the wider community be
patient as any parameters in clubs (that are predominantly volunteer-run) are
put in place to protect individuals from the risk of infection.
As further clarification and
guidance from government is provided, RYANI will share the necessary advice and
information to assure that risk is minimised and public health prioritised.
Further analysis of remaining Steps is being
sought in order to assess when further activity, outside recreational boating,
could take place.
Pic: Windsurfers on