Sub-menu Navigation

Return to Boating

The documents updated 11th September 2020 are currently under review ro reflect the changes of the 23rd of September.

Key notes which apply to all boating activities:

Participants should be aware that the ongoing updating of restrictions in Phase 3 does not mean that all facilities will open immediately. Owners and operators will require time to put plans in place to ensure the safety of participants, staff and volunteers.Please be respectful of local challengesthis is a difficult time for everyone so please be patient.

Many commercial facilities now have toilet, changing and showering facilities open for users and visitors. However, facilities such as those at clubs or run by volunteers, may struggle to meet the strict requirements for opening these facilities and visitors should check ahead to ensure they understand what is and is not available.

Please keep up to date with local measures and be prepared for changes with little notice.

Test and Protect 
It is now mandatory requirement that facility operators collect and keep for 21 days, contact details for visitors to their premises. It is also now a mandatory requirement for organisers of boating activity, such as musters or regattas, to collect and retain the contact details for all participants. You should be prepared to give your details when requested.

In addition, the Scottish Government have launched the Protect Scotland App to reduce the spread of coronavirus and avoid further lockdowns. 

Organised Outdoor Activities

The option to effect a field of play and suspend physical distancing, only applies to organised outdoor activity for which all participant details are recorded and that is co-ordinated and managed by a club, class association or recognised training centre. A Covid Officer should be appointed, who has undertaken and documented an additional Covid-19 risk assessment for the activity and implemented all necessary mitigating actions to ensure the health, safety and welfare of participants, coaches and officials. For our sport, outdoor activity includes Dinghy Sailing, windsurfing, Personal Watercraft, Cruising and Powerboating. Training inside Motor Cruisers, Sailing Yachts or Powerboats would be classed as indoor training and physical distancing must be maintained and any mitigating measures put in place. Please refer to our Clubs and Training Centre Guidance.

Cleaning information 
We recommend you carry and use hand sanitiser which should be at least 60% alcohol based. Regularly washing of hands with soap and water is still preferable where there are the facilities to do so.

Detergent wipes need to be appropriate for the surface they are being used on. 

Cleaning products should conform to EN14476 standard or any detergent will need to be followed by chlorine releasing agent. However, be wary of cleaning requirements for specialist boating equipment such as life jackets and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Be mindful of our fragile marine environment, do not release bleach products into the water and dispose of used wipes, gloves and masks responsibly. In addition, it may be worthwhile looking at best practice for general cleaning of equipment via The Green Blue.

Physical distancing requirements are still in place 
People must stay a minimum distance of 2 metres apart when meeting others from outside their household, unless in an organised ‘field of play activity’ via a club or training centre. 

Travel restrictions are now relaxed 
Subject to any localised measuresHowever, participants travelling by car should only do so with members of their own household (or extended household).

People can meet in extended groups outside with physical distancing 
Revised social gathering rules: 6 people from up to 2 households can meet socially. (Under 12s from the 2 households are not counted within this limit). This applies in all locations – for example at home, in hospitality or outdoors in a park or garden. Limited exemptions apply.

Households can meet indoors with one other household (total 2 households max 6 people) with physical distancing. This includes overnight stays.

Overnight aboard  
It is possible for up to 6 people from households to stay overnight aboard at the mooring or on the pontoon if physical distancing is maintained while on board. Visitor berthing is permitted. 
Before departing check local restrictions with mooring owners/associations/harbour masters 
#Respect the destination. Plan ahead, be considerate on arrival and think of the local residents.

Advice and guidance relating to local outbreaks or clusters of coronavirus cases.

Please be aware of local measures that apply and always follow the Scottish Government Guidance.

For Inland waterway users follow the link for further useful information. Scottish Canals

Equality & Inclusion

Covid-19 is affecting everyone. But the impact of the pandemic is not being felt equally. Before the pandemic certain groups were less likely to participate in sport and physical activity. These groups are also the most at risk of worsening inequalities due to Covid-19:

  • Older people
  • Disabled people
  • Ethnic minorities 
  • Women
  • People from deprived communities

It is more important than ever to consider people who need extra support to be active and we should consider this as people return to boating.

Page Break

General RYA principles applying to all boating activity:

We will always follow Government advice – Scottish Government

  • The COVID-19 preventative measures are vital to protecting health and well being and to minimising pressure on front line services. We have a collective and individual role to play by following the Scottish Government guidelines

We will, as a boating community, take a considerate and conservative approach

  • Considerate of others:be mindful of the potential impact that you could have on other water users and local communities. Do not place unnecessary extra strain on the RNLI and emergency services
  • Conservative of risk: help to minimise risk by taking an extra conservative approach to your boating


  • You may sail with up to one other household on a boat and with no more than six people in total.
  • Participants are encouraged to use their own personal equipment during this phase, or to have equipment allocated to them for exclusive use during a set period. This equipment should be cleaned appropriately before being allocated to another user.
  • Participants must only take to the water in conditions well within their ability and which assume a self-sufficient approach to their activity.
  • Competition can now be organised in line with the RYA Scotland guidance to Clubs and Recognised Training centres
  • Check your equipment thoroughly, particularly engines and fuel, as they may not have been used for some time. Consider using a device to keep in touch such as RYA SafeTRX on a mobile or carry a VHF and notifying someone ashore of your intended activity, anticipated time afloat and calling them when you are back ashore safely.

Plan -Your Activity

Planning your boating activity is key to ensuring you protect yourself and others around you. 

  • Consider your activity type, destination and timescales.
  • Consider your options for changing pre and post activity.
  • Check the weather, sea state, location of launching and the location you may be visiting during your activity. 
  • Check your destination availability – Do you have car parking availability? Is your intended mooring available? Have you considered rural community impact? Have you taken enough supplies to not go ashore or utilise destination shops?Do you have a face mask if you are required to go ashore?
  • Do you have a contingency plan?

All these factors will help you support your decisions to whether you are able to participate in your activity. Planning to make your activity fun, safe and enjoyable is equally as important as planning to reduce the potential spread of COVID 19.

Prepare - Your Craft

  • Have you checked your craft is ready and appropriate for your activity?
  • Have you checked your personal life saving equipment? 
  • Have you checked your communication systems?
  • Have you planned the journey?
  • Do you have a shore contact?

Deliver -Your Activity

  • Be considerate of others on and off the water.
  • Be conservative in your approach to your sport and do not take any unnecessary risk that may put you or otherin danger. 
  • Avoid busy areas where physical distancing is not possible. 

We would recommend that you do not launch at locations where you cannot maintain physical distancing for example crowded beaches or hot spots.

Review - Your Activity

  • How did it go? 
  • What impact have you had on your destination?
  • Would you change any elements of the trip/activity/sport?

Consider how you can ensure you play your part in reducing the spread of COVID 19.

Find books for your course at the RYA Shop

eBooks in the cloud
Our handy guide shows the books & DVDs that go with your course!
Please select...