The Government has issued new guidance for the national lockdown in England, which comes into force today Tuesday, 5 January 2021. Meanwhile residents of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are also facing new, or extended restrictions. Guidance for the devolved administrations differs, and it is vital that members and affiliates familiarise themselves with the regulations in force in their area, as well as conducting their own risk assessment.

The new guidance in England states that you must not leave, or be outside of your home except for a limited number of specific circumstances. The latest guidance states that:

  • Outdoor exercise is still permitted, with your household or bubble, or with one person from another household as long as social distancing is observed
  • It should be limited to once per day
  • You can only leave your home to exercise, not for the purposes of recreation or leisure (e.g. a picnic or a social meeting)
  • You should not travel outside your local area, unless to travel a short distance for exercise
  • All outdoor sports clubs, centres, venues and facilities will need to close, alongside indoor facilities
  • Elite sports, and organised activity for people with disabilities, can continue

Further detail expected this week

The RYA is urgently seeking further clarification from the relevant Government departments, including the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS), Department for Transport (DfT) and Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to confirm and clarify exactly what the new guidance fully means for boating activities. Pending this clarification, our interpretation is that boating as a form of outdoor exercise is permitted as long as:

  • you are able to safely access, launch and recover your boat from a public space;
  • you are able to do this without leaving your local area;
  • in a single or single household/support bubble crew; and,
  • if the relevant waterway authorities permit recreational boating

RYA activity suspended until 1st March

In the meantime, the RYA has taken the decision to once again postpone its directly organised (non-virtual) events and training in response to these measures, to protect participants, volunteers and others, and to reduce the risk of placing an additional burden on the emergency services at what is a hugely testing time.

This postponement is in force until 1st March 2021, but will be reviewed as new Government decisions are made, currently expected to be in mid-February. We recognise that the situation in the UK is rapidly evolving, and we will continue to monitor it and respond accordingly to Government guidance. Further advice for clubs, classes and training centres, as well as recreational boating in the UK and abroad, can be found on the RYA website

Sarah Treseder, CEO of the RYA, said: “It is vital that we all play our part in combatting the spread of this virus and we understand the difficult decisions that the Government is having to make to keep people and communities safe.

“Whilst RYA staff are following Government guidance to work from home where it is possible to do so, we will continue to provide as much support and guidance as possible to our members, affiliates and other stakeholders. We’ll also be providing a range of virtual #SailFromHome events and resources to ensure our members can still get their boating fix online and we invite anyone with questions to get in touch through their normal RYA contacts or via ask@rya.org.uk.

“This lockdown will be a further test of our collective resolve, but with the vaccination programme now rolling out to priority groups right across the UK we are confident of a fantastic season of boating activity in 2021.”