Dear Members,

When we wrote to you on Wednesday 4th November regarding the new lockdown, we said we were seeking clarification on some points.  We’ve now received clarification from the RYA concerning its recent guidance.  In addition, further guidance has been issued by the government.  The government and RYA guidance are on their websites (www.gov.uk and www.rya.org.uk) The additional advice is in line with our previous update; this includes confirmation that the club house, black shed, sail-loft and workshop are to remain closed.  There must be no use of any club ‘amenities’ which includes club boats, kayaks, SUPs, pulling dinghies and the rowing boat.  

Equally, at this time we feel it is important to ask members to avoid using the club toilets,  the hose and the pulling dinghies.  These too are club ‘amenities’ and so should not be in use.  

Finally, this also means that the dinghy park is closed.  On 6th November, the RYA published a Q&A for clubs which addressed this specific point:
“Can club boat parks and slipways remain open?
 
Our understanding is that boat parks and their slipways are part of a sporting facility and its amenities and therefore must be closed.  However, we believe those that are situated in public outdoor places* are not subject to the closure restrictions.”
 
The GC has concluded that we will follow this interpretation.  

Some members, understandably, have sought further guidance from us concerning what can and can’t be done at the Club on an individual basis.  One area which is particularly challenging is maintenance of boats on the Quay and in the dinghy park.  While there is little guidance from the government on this point, it is the RYA’s view that it is only essential checks and maintenance that cannot be delayed that may be undertaken.  According to British Marine, DEFRA have gone even further and stated that they “do not consider private individuals visiting their boats for maintenance, or winterisation purposes, as an essential activity.” (https://marineindustrynews.co.uk/defra-rules-on-recreational-boating/ ).  This would be consistent with the fact that there are currently limited legal reasons for leaving your home.  Our advice is to read the guidance from the government and that from the RYA before undertaking any activity related to boat maintenance.

The GC’s conclusion is that the Club must support the spirit of the latest government initiative to address the Covid-19 pandemic and do its very best to comply with the legislation.  This is also important for the Club’s reputation in the community; not only should we comply with the law, we should also be seen to comply.   

We completely understand that these latest restrictions, particularly on the dinghy park, are frustrating for some and it is certainly possible to point to inconsistencies in how different businesses or activities are treated under the legislation.  However, we would ask that you work with us in supporting the position we have taken; as always, our intention is to protect you, the Club and to comply with the law.

We will continue to review the situation and if anything changes, we will let you know.

Hoping to see you on the water in December,
Ben Alcott, Commodore
On behalf of GC

*Under the legislation ‘public outdoor space’ means ‘an outdoor place to which the public have, or are permitted, access’.  The dinghy park does not fit within this definition.