Further to the release of the Covid-19 Restrictions for England coming into force, the RYA and British Schools Dinghies Racing Association (BSDRA) have been working together to support RYA affiliated clubs and recognised training centres that work with schools to continue the provision of sailing for young people during this time.  

Whilst sailing clubs and watersports centres have been required to close, both the guidance from the Department for Education (DfE) and Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) makes it clear that they may remain open to facilitate the provision of school curriculum sport.   

The Sport and Recreation Alliance, Youth Sport Trust, ukactive and Association for Physical Education have also come together to help clarify what extra-curricular sport is permitted under the Government’s new lockdown guidance.

The most recent guidance from the DfE, published on 6 November, advised that: "Schools can and should continue offering sports clubs or activities before or after school, in addition to their regular PE lessons, in order to support parents to work, seek work, or to undertake education or training, and for the purposes of respite care for vulnerable children.”

RYA clubs and training centres are encouraged to work with schools to manage access to sites, water and facilities for school curriculum sport where appropriate. 

Whilst we understand that this may conflict with members not being able to sail and not all clubs will be comfortable opening for this purpose, schools are working under detailed guidance from the DfE to ensure the education and sport they provide is run in a safe and Covid-secure way. 

The Youth Sport Trust, Sport and Recreation Alliance, ukactive and Association for Physical Education have advised that:

  • Schools should continue to provide extra-curricular sport as long as they can do so in a way which i) maintains the integrity of schools’ Covid-19 protocols such as approach to bubbles, staffing and social distancing and ii) is subject to appropriate risk assessment.
  • Where the guidance refers to supporting parents to work, there is no additional need for schools to prove that extra-curricular clubs are helping parents to work or seek work.
  • Extra-curricular clubs should not take place if they are bringing together groups of young people who would not otherwise be spending time together. Competition between different schools should not take place, in line with the wider restrictions on grassroots sport.

Whilst it is now clear that this type of activity is permitted, clubs and training centres should continue to risk assess their operations and should only open if they feel it is safe and appropriate to do so.

The RYA is available to provide further support on how clubs and centres can work with their partner schools to enable participation. Further information, including dedicated guidance for clubs and training centres is available via the RYA Covid-19 online hub. If you are an affiliated club or centre that requires additional assistance, please get in touch with the RYA Legal team, call: 023 8060 4223 or email: legal@rya.org.uk.

The BSDRA is able to provide contacts of schools who have successfully continued their sailing programmes during this time and who are willing to support others to restart.