RYA Training Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidance

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    RYA Coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQs for Affiliated Clubs, Classes and Recognised Training Centres

    We are continuing to monitor the Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak carefully. As the situation develops, please be reassured that our primary concern is the health of our members, affiliated clubs, classes, recognised training centres (RTCs), instructors and volunteers. Our thoughts are with our entire network during these challenging times.

    The guidance below has been put together to assist clubs, classes and RTCs, and is consistent with advice from the UK government and Public Health England. If you are operating overseas, you should follow advice from the government and public health authorities in that country in addition to the advice laid out below. 

    This guidance was last updated on 02 April 2020.

    Preventative measures

    What is the RYA’s advice for RYA clubs and RTCs within the UK?

    As you will have seen, the latest measures to stop the virus spreading now include not leaving home unless absolutely necessary, keeping at least two metres from others and washing your hands as soon as you get home. This follows the closure of entertainment, hospitality and indoor leisure premises across the country including private sports clubs. 

    Please take action to prevent the potential spread of infection. The latest guidance from the UK Government can be found here

    We understand you may be worried about the welfare of those who are most vulnerable and encourage you to share the RYA guidance around coronavirus, which is consistent with advice provided in the UK Government guidelines.

    The Government is advising everyone to stay at home

    • Only go outside for food, health reasons or essential work
    • Stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people
    • Wash your hands as soon as you get home

    Events, activity and closures

    Based on the Government’s advice and guidance on the developing situation the RYA has suspended all RYA organised events, instructor courses and revalidations until at least 31 May – this date will be regularly reviewed. This also includes Discover Sailing events. Click here for more information on what this means.

    What if I have to close my club or cancel activity?

    As a consequence of the Government measures to prevent the spread of the virus, clubs and Sailability groups should now be closed. This closure will no doubt create a number of challenges and gives rise to questions, many of the answers to which have not yet been worked out. The consequences of the pandemic are likely to be felt for many months, and clubs need to consider both the legal position and the long term impact on their organisation.

    The RYA Legal team has prepared guidance on the likely impact of the closure of non-essential businesses, which includes advice on cash flow, refunds, insurance and customer engagement – amongst other concerns raised by clubs at this difficult time.

    Do we need to cancel our training courses?

    Always follow the latest government advice when determining whether a course or event should go ahead, be postponed or cancelled.

    Given the diverse nature of the 2,400+ RYA training centres and the varying circumstances across the 58 countries we operate in, we are unable to provide general advice on this matter. Ultimately each training centre must make its own decisions on a case-by-case basis taking a number of different factors into consideration, including but not limited to;

    • The advice from the local government and health authorities
    • Individual risk factors for any staff or students
    • The need for travel
    • The nature of the course
    • The particular circumstances of the individual RTC
    • Whether the students are still willing to attend

    We understand you may be worried about the risks involved, should you wish to discuss your situation with us, please contact the training team by emailing training@rya.org.uk or calling +44 (0) 23 8060 4181.

    Legal, financial and insurance support

    What if a contract I have entered is unlikely to be performed?

    Members of the RYA community are likely to have entered a range of contracts before the COVID-19 pandemic. From charter agreements, RYA courses to contracts for services the effect of the current situation is being felt across the boating community. The position is developing daily, with unprecedented government involvement. The RYA Legal Team has drafted guidance intended to provide a helpful starting point, but you may also need to seek independent legal advice.

    Will financial support be available for my organisation in the UK?

    Home Country Sports Councils in the UK understand how challenging and unprecedented this period may be, especially where events and fixtures are being postponed or cancelled. They are not however currently in a position to offer financial support to organisations affected. They are working to explore options should they be needed and will communicate further once those have been more fully discussed.

    The Budget 2020 has announced a plan to provide support for UK public services, individuals and businesses affected by COVID-19. This guidance gives further detail on the measures announced by the Chancellor including additional funding and Statutory Sick Pay changes, and an increase in the Business Rates retail discount for one year.

    Sport England has announced a £195 million package to help the community sport and physical activity sector in England cope with the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic. The Community Emergency Fund could be especially useful for clubs and Sailability groups who have recently closed their doors during the Coronavirus outbreak and who have ongoing financial obligations which they are struggling to meet. 

    For more information about financial support for UK businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic, please click here

    Businesses overseas should contact the relevant local government authorities to explore the possibility of financial support. 

    What financial support is available for the self-employed?

    The RYA is acutely aware of the hardship that the situation is presenting to those in the RYA network who work on a self-employed basis and has been working with other Sport National Governing Bodies and the Sport & Recreation Alliance to lobby Government.

    The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced on 26 March a UK-wide scheme to financially support self-employed individuals affected by the coronavirus outbreak. Details of the package are as follows:

    • A grant of up to £2,500 per month for the next 3 months calculated on 80% of average monthly trading profits over the last 3 years
    • The scheme is open to those with trading profit of less than £50,000 in 2018/19 or an average trading profit of less than £50K in 16/17, 17/18 and 18/19. Half of the income in these periods must come from self-employment.
    • The grant will be paid direct to banks in one lump sum covering the 3 month period at the beginning of June.

    You do not need to take any action at this stage, HMRC will identify eligible tax payers and contact them directly with guidance about how to apply using an online form. 

    Anyone who did not submit an 18/19 tax return by 31 January this year will be given a four week window to submit via the HMRC website self-assessment page

    Unfortunately the package does not extend to individuals who have only recently become self-employed i.e. not able to file a tax return for 2018/2019. If you find yourself in that position, we would like to hear from you in order that we may assess the extent of the shortfall with a view to lobby Government.

    What will happen if due to a reduction in income my business is unable to cover the rent of our building?

    Under the Coronavirus Act 2020 S.82/83 business tenancies in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will benefit from a protection from forfeiture/re-entry as a result of non-payment of rent during the crisis. These provisions are in place until 30 June 2020, but could be extended by the Government. This means that if you are unable to pay the rent during the next 3-month period, your club will still be able to occupy the building and the landlord will not be permitted to take re-entry/forfeiture action during this time. As a commercial tenant you will still be liable for the rent and a payment plan should be agreed with your landlord. We are in the process of drafting more detailed guidance for clubs on these provisions, which we will share in due course.

    Will our insurance cover consequential losses?

    You may be covered against consequential losses in relation to Covid-19. Clubs and RTCs should check their policies and speak to their insurance provider. 

    For Clubs/RTCs insured under the Gallagher RYA Combined Policy the following applies:

    • Cover only applies in respect of those clients who insure against Section 2 (Business Interruption) and cover Option A – Loss of Revenue (note that this is an optional cover section).
    • The policy provides an extension under Section 2 – Business Interruption in respect of Disease, Infestation and Defective Sanitation.
    • Insurers have taken the view that cover will only be provided under this section of the policy as a result of someone at a club or RTC having COVID-19 which results in the club/RTC having to close the premises on the direct order of the competent local authority. Insurers have stated that it is not the intention of the policy to provide cover for losses as a result of an order from local authority where there has not been an outbreak at the premises and where the request is precautionary.
    • Cover is provided to a maximum of 5% of the Loss of Revenue sum (Option A) insured or £25,000 - whichever is the lesser.

    Insurers will handle each and every claim (where required) on a case by case basis – taking into account specific circumstances, it is therefore imperative you speak with your insurance provider.

    We are discussing the policy underwriter’s position on cover with Gallagher. In the meantime, we would encourage RYA affiliates to submit claims (assuming they have the relevant cover), and if insurers refuse to accept the claims, to escalate the claims through the insurers’ complaints procedure and potentially ultimately to the Insurance Ombudsman.

    RYA Instructor and commercial credentials

    Are RYA instructor courses and revalidations still going ahead and will this affect my status as an RYA Instructor?

    After careful consideration and taking into account government advice, we have made the decision to postpone all RYA Instructor courses and revalidations that were scheduled to run between 19 March and 31 May 2020. These courses will be rescheduled to take place at a later date in 2020 once we have a clearer picture of the timeframe involved with the current Coronavirus situation.

    Instructors who were due to attend revalidations in order to maintain their instructor credentials will have the ability to extend their qualification as necessary to enable them to continue to instruct.

    We will continue to review the situation with regards courses scheduled for later this year and will issue specific guidance as necessary to those who are due to attend.

    My First Aid certificate has expired and my course has been cancelled. Can I still instruct courses?

    In recognition that courses in many countries, including the UK have been cancelled, instructor certificates for the Dinghy/Keelboat/Multihull, Windsurf and Power schemes (excluding Advanced Power Instructors) will remain valid for up to 6 months after the expiry of the required First Aid certificate.  Any RYA certificate that expires after 01 March 2020 is deemed valid up to 30 September 2020.

    It is important that any training session has at least one person with a valid and in date First Aid certificate supervising. Instructors with expired First Aid certificates should make sure to refresh their knowledge of First Aid by self-study or instruction.

    For schemes which have an Assistant Instructor certificate in their instructor awards, an instructor with a First Aid certificate more than 3 months out of date may be considered as an Assistant Instructor and should work under the direct supervision of a fully qualified instructor as described above.

    My commercial endorsement has expired, can I still work?

    The MCA has approved a temporary extension for all RYA certificates with commercial endorsements which expire during the period affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. RYA certificates that expired from 01 March 2020 onwards, will be accepted as valid up to and including the 30 September 2020. For further details and information about commercial endorsement extensions where RYA First Aid certificates or medical fitness certificates have expired, please click here.

    RYA Training Courses

    Due to the provision of RYA training all over the world, we recognise that whilst some centres will have temporarily closed in line with guidance from their local governments, centres in areas less affected by the pandemic may remain operational.

    If it is safe and appropriate for your centre’s training activities to continue, please take note of the temporary course variations laid out below. These measures have been put in place to aid RYA recognised training centres at this challenging time, however, please ensure you always follow the latest government advice when deciding whether a course should go ahead, be postponed or cancelled.

    Can I deliver shorebased classroom courses remotely?

    We are looking into what additional material or structures we can put in place to facilitate training centres. Much of our training has a significant amount of practical content which is a limiting factor. If you have a concept you would like to explore as an alternative to face-to-face sessions in the classroom, please contact the relevant Chief Instructor to discuss.

    Can I still order course packs for shorebased courses?

    Yes, however, the RYA offices will be closed from 04-19 April and we will be unable to dispatch anything during this period. As an interim measure, we will be implementing a temporary ePack process to give centres that are still able to deliver remote shorebased courses access to the key training materials needed to support their students. 

    During this two-week period, we will continue to monitor orders made through the RYA Online Trade Shop (www.trade.rya.org.uk). Customers who order any Navigation or SRC course packs will receive an eBook voucher redemption code by email for every pack ordered, along with full redemption instructions. Each code provides access to the eBook versions of the particular course pack material, excluding course completion certificates or assessment papers, through the RYA Books app.

    All orders will be processed and the printed packs which we've emailed codes for will be sent out as soon as possible after the RYA offices re-open.

    I have a student with an SRC exam application form now past its expiry date, can it be extended?

    We will honour SRC exam application forms purchased since 01 October 2019 for SRC exams conducted up to the end of September 2020. There is no need to request an extension for this time period. We will continue to monitor the situation and update this advice as necessary.

    Temporary variations for sail and motor cruising courses

    Centres delivering courses under the cruising scheme up to Day Skipper practical (Sail or Motor), may day-sail from their home port and relax the requirement to live aboard.

    Exam preparation courses may be possible without living on board.

    Coastal Skipper courses, which require longer passage making, may not be possible as there will almost certainly be a requirement to live onboard to enable passages of sufficient length to take place.

    RTCs may use their best judgement in combining courses to make a viable course, taking into account the competing needs of the specific students onboard.

    In each case centres should consider the additional measures they are able to put in place to reduce the risk of infection. In some cases it may prudent to reduce student numbers to provide sufficient instructional time and/or space onboard.

    These variations to the RYA’s usual requirements will remain in place temporarily during the current Covid-19 pandemic and are intended to assist centres which may still be able to offer training with these adjustments. Ultimately centres must make their best judgement for the benefit of themselves, their students and instructors.

    Updated guidance for RYA First Aid centres and instructors

    It is important that RYA First Aid centres and First Aid Instructors take appropriate action. Resuscitation UK have issued guidance for teaching CPR during the Covid-19 infection period.

    It is worth highlighting the importance of enhanced hygiene and the use of gloves and face masks or shields. If it is not possible to comply with the guidance of replacing and disposing of manikin bladders after each student, instructors should demonstrate good practice of giving breaths to ensure students understand the principles of opening the airway and preparing to give breaths. 

    Students should practice full CPR without making face to face contact with manikins or giving breaths, but pausing and preparing the manikin at the appropriate times as if breaths were to be given.

    Inspections and coding

    Are RYA inspections still going ahead and will this affect my recognition status?

    We have taken the decision to postpone all RYA Training Centre inspections, both in the UK and overseas, until such a time it is safe and advisable to resume. Please be reassured this will not affect your RYA Training Centre status. Should you have any queries, please contact recognition@rya.org.uk.

    How do I maintain my coding certification during the Coronavirus Pandemic?

    We appreciate you may be concerned about the mechanics of maintaining the coding of your vessel at this time. We have put together some additional guidance for owners, Managing Agents, Inspectors and Surveyors detailing how we will administer the requirements set out by the MCA for this period. To view the FAQs, please click here.

    Overseas travel

    Should I travel overseas?

    As countries respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, including travel and border restrictions, the FCO advises British nationals against all but essential international travel. Any country or area may restrict travel without notice. If you live in the UK and are currently travelling abroad, you are strongly advised to return now, while there are still commercial routes available. Many airlines are suspending flights and many airports are closing, preventing flights from leaving.

    You can get advice about travelling abroad, including the latest information on Coronavirus, safety and security, entry requirements and travel warnings at www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.

    Ultimately, the decision on whether or not to travel is entirely yours and should be made taking into account the relevant local government advice and your personal circumstances. 

    What about arriving in the UK by boat or boating overseas?

    For information about arriving in the UK by boat and guidance on boating overseas, please click here. The RYA Cruising Team is also on hand to address any concerns relating to boating overseas and any subsequent return to the UK and can be reached on +44 (0) 23 8060 4233 or email cruising@rya.org.uk.

    Additional information

    • Number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases and risk in the UK – GOV.UK
    • Coronavirus (COVID-19) Overview – NHS.UK