COVID-19: Guidance for running RYA training activity

07 January 2021 - As you will be aware, further national lockdown restrictions have been announced and come into effect in recent days for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as part of the government's strategy to control the spread of the coronavirus.

Whilst we are still awaiting further detail from government as to the full implications of these measures, our understanding is that all face-to-face RYA training being undertaken for leisure purposes (both practical and classroom based) will need to cease for the foreseeable future in the UK.

However, RYA training or examinations being undertaken for work purposes or leading to qualifications for employment will be able to continue, providing the appropriate measures are in place to mitigate against the risk of infection. Whilst this is positive news, we would urge centres to consider whether the training in question can be delayed or deferred until after this current lockdown period in an effort to help support efforts to bring the coronavirus under control. 

 We expect further detail to be made available later this week and would urge you to monitor the pages below for updated guidance. Further information will also be available from the RYA Home Countries in due course. 

The RYA has taken the decision to once again postpone its directly organised (non-virtual) events and some of our face-to-face instructor training in response to these measures - find out more here.  

Outside of the UK, RYA training centres, instructors and examiners should continue to comply with the relevant government guidance for the location in which they are operating. Those centres reliant upon examiners or instructors travelling from the UK should be aware that travel restrictions will make this unlikely over the coming two months or so.  

Should you have any questions relating to your own specific training centre or circumstances, please don't hesitate to get in contact with the RYA Training team using the contact details below. 

We have put together the following guidance to assist RYA recognised training centres (RTCs) when considering if, when and how RYA training activity should take place during the coronavirus pandemic.


The intention of this guidance is to support RTCs with managing the risks of infection from COVID-19. However centres should always ensure they are aware of, and comply with, the latest guidance from the government in the country in which they are operating, as well as completing their own risk assessments.

We would encourage all centres to take their time and use all the information available to carefully plan and develop policies which will best suit their operations. Centres should only consider operating if and when they are ready and able to facilitate safe activity, with appropriate social distancing measures, hygiene procedures and risk management practices.

We will continue to update this guidance as we receive additional information from Government and feedback from centres. Please refer back regularly for further updates. 

If you have any questions, or want to discuss any of the guidance in further detail, please contact the RYA Training team by emailing training@rya.org.uk or calling +44 (0) 23 8060 4181.

RYA guiding principles 

The RYA has developed a range of resources to help members and the wider boating community prepare for a return to the water as quickly and safely as possible. Throughout all of our guidance, the ‘guiding principles’ laid out below will be followed: 

1. Our guidance

COVID-19 preventative measures are vital in keeping you, your family and others safe and to minimise pressure on frontline services. The RYA will continue to support the National effort to control the spread of COVID-19 and assist members of the RYA family with any variations that might develop at a local level. We support the Government’s desire to return to normality in a measured way and we recognise that we have a role to play by providing guidance to the RYA community on the application of the 2020 Regulations. 

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

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

Further information regarding the RYA’s return to boating strategy and additional guidance for clubs and RYA Sailability venues can be found at www.rya.org.uk/go/ReturnToBoating

For more information about the legal, financial and insurance support available to centres and instructors at this challenging time, please visit the RYA COVID-19 Hub page and RYA Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidance for Affiliated Clubs and Recognised Training Centres.