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Home / On the Water / On the Water during Covid-19

On the Water during Covid-19

Club Policy and Guidance to Members on Return to the Water.

Latest Guidance - RYANI 9 July 2021

Please find attached (and on the RYANI Website) the latest guidance, following announcements last week. In summary:

  • from 2 July, the Executive lifted the cap on outdoor gatherings and the maximum number permitted will be determined by the risk assessment carried out for the venue.
  • from 5 July all gatherings, indoors and outdoors (not including domestic settings) will be subject to a risk assessment if they have more than 15 participants for indoors, or more than 30 participants for outdoors.
  • Live music will also be permitted at licensed and unlicensed premises from 5 July. Music must be at ambient levels that permit normal conversation and with suitable mitigations in place.

Notice to Club Members, Instructors and Volunteers to monitor and manage the following:

Parents and Children Members - Covid-19 guiding principles - Restricted access and safe use of Changing and Shower facilities

  • Outdoor / External large capacity locations will be provisioned to limit time indoors:
  • Changing rooms and Shower facilities should only be used where a shower is essential and in exceptional circumstances
  • Only 10 minutes should be spent in the Changing area and this includes the time in the shower.
  • No Dryers are to be used
  • Hand santising and cleaning materials are provided in each area
  • Maintain 2metre social distancing
  • Face coverings should be worn in enclosed spaces
  • Enter via the Wet entrance and leave by the main front door to maintain a one way system

Restrictions review (Indicative date 26th July)

There has been more discussion in the news about potential further lifting of restrictions in NI and it has been well publicised around the steps being taken in the likes of England.

The NI Executive has outlined that further considerations (to be confirmed on 22nd July) including:

  • the potential reduction of the legal requirement for social distancing (where relevant) to a minimum of one metre indoors and remove the requirement for all outdoor activities and public transport.
  • There are further proposals to increase number of households for overnight stays in private dwellings.
  • To permit live music without restriction to volume in concert halls, theatres and other indoor venues.

If approved, these easings will be a major step in helping in the delivery of a number of activities, not least learn to sail orientated activity.

Full detail on these and current restrictions can be found on the NI Direct Website.

Update Effective from 24 May 2021 Version 2 - STEP 3

  • Larger groups for outdoor training/ activity;
  • outdoor sport being permitted for those not affiliated to a NGB;
  • the cap of 100 on competitive outdoor sporting events increased to an overall limit of 500 (In line with wider gathering limits);
  • Spectators allowed;
  • Re opening of indoor club facilities;
  • Re opening of changing rooms and shower areas.

Of note, the Regulations have brought in the requirement of a Risk Assessment and necessary measures to be identified where gatherings exceed 15 indoors or 30 outdoors. Risk assessment for the facility/spaces being used should determine safe occupancy that minimises the risk of Covid spread and within group limitations and may be requested by a 'relevant officer'.

This comes as welcome news to allow more activity to be considered as we continue to move through the easing of restrictions.

Download: RYA NI - Updated Framework -step 3

Download: RYA NI FAQs

Effective from 1st April 2021 Version 1

The Sailing Committee have undertaken a further 'Return to the Water' review in line with NI Executive Guidance, Sport NI and RYANI COVID-19 guidance. The plan is to phase the recommencement of the club's facilitation of on-the-water activities consistently as Government guidance is modified according to the club's specific circumstances.

Further updates will be posted here and on the other usual communication channels.


Recreational Boating only 2:10 (Two households max 10 people)

Members may now officially use the Club slipway, dinghy park and storage at Beach Rd again, for rigging / launching / recovering boats, kayaks and windsurf boards. Double-handed vessels are permitted if crewed by members of the same household.

The main slip has been cleaned and will be maintained going forward.

Members choosing to go on the water from Club facilities must consider the following:

1.No Safety Boat cover: There is no other on-shore or on-the-water support.

2.Taking to the water is your decision. BE CONSERVATIVE: The decision to go out is yours alone. Please consider the guidance below carefully, and if you are at all unsure of your abilities in the prevailing wind/sea state, err on the side of caution and do not take a risk. For those who have never taken to the water without safety cover it may not be suitable at all for you at present.

3.Social Distancing: Be considerate to other users of the space (both public and members) and maintain social distancing of 2m.

4.Clubhouse remains closed: At present the clubhouse (including toilets and changing facilities) remains closed.

5.Safety Boat Sheds: Should not be accessed without authorisation except in an emergency (including the hose). (An exception applies when under the Safety boat supervised session when these are applicable from the 12th of April 2021)

6.Bring your own personal disinfectant and hand sanitiser: Avoid touching shared hard surfaces. If you need to touch Beach Rd. gates, locks etc please use sanitiser before and after use.

7.Log your use: Initially, members should log their intention to go on the water by adding their details to the What's App group set up for this purpose. To join the group, send an email to to ensure only Members are added to this group. Please log the day and time you intend to go out and include any on the water or onshore parental/personal supporter cover.

8.Guidance: Please carefully consider the guidance below on keeping yourself and others safe and check them before making further visits as both Government restrictions and Club policy are amended. From the 12 April it is planned there will be a Safety boat led Training Session of max 15 at the weekend, if you are a self- contained group, you are respectfully requested to rig, launch and recover at a time that does not conflict with the "official training session". This will ensure the official group of 15 is controlled and social distancing is maintained onshore. Recreational sailing outside of the Training Session will still be 2:10 two households making up a max of 10 members.

9.If you are displaying Covid19 Symptoms: For your safety and that of others please follow NHS guidance on treatment and self-isolating, but please do not use Club facilities for 14 days.

As there is hopefully further easing of restrictions on the use of the club facilities, the Committee will be introducing session times and a booking system to control the number using Club facilities. This will be accessible on the Club website. It is easy to use, and you will be issued with a login and password, along with a quick guide. For now - keep each other informed by using the What's App group: Return to the Water

BEFORE RETURNING TO THE WATER (amend as applicable to Kayaking/Wind Surfing)

1.Check your boat. Before going out fully rig your boat and ensure all sails, control lines, shackles, paddles are checked, and that bungs and bailers are fully operational.

Additional kit to be added. A hand-held bailer and a paddle.

2.Check all of your sailing/kayaking clothing is in your kit bag and that you have your buoyancy aid or life jacket.

3.Log your visit on What's App. It is suggested you estimate a 2-hour period. This would be from your time of arrival at the club and the time you must be leaving the club.

4.Ensure hands are thoroughly washed and use the hand sanitiser provided onsite.

5.Please bring your own equipment that you have cleaned and checked. Please bring cleaning products and cloths and clean any hard surfaces before and after use.

Note: the general public pass through the dinghy park and the slipway is still visited by passers-by.

6.Juniors: as safety cover will not be available at this initial stage, we would recommend that Juniors and their parents give special consideration to their abilities and the conditions before considering going afloat.

7.For sailors under the age of 18 we require a parent or adult family member to remain within the vicinity of the club whilst the junior is on the water. (to assist in spacing for sailors, parents/supporters are asked to maintain their distance outside of the cordoned area to the north of the dinghy park. However, brief interaction with their child is permitted in either Zone1 South of Slipway or Zone 2 the main hardstanding or Zone 3 Dinghy park area to the North.

8.Please note access to a hose will not be available. Bring a container of fresh water if you want to wash down parts of your boat after sailing. (An exception applies when under the Safety boat supervised session, a designated member will manage the disinfecting before and after use of the hose for flushing the Engine)

9.The club house and changing rooms will remain closed therefore please arrive ready to sail and note toilet facilities will not be available.

10.Please bring your own drinks with you, especially if the weather is warm. Do not share water bottles or food.

11.Before travelling: Please check the What's App, Club website and Facebook for the latest information, e.g., from the 12 April check when a Club supervised training session is active, or if changes in Government guidelines require the Club outdoor facilities to be closed again, this will be communicated by these methods.


1.If possible, arrange to go out with another boat and watch out for each other and for other boats afloat.

2.Check the weather forecast regularly, tide times and sea state.

3.Avoid sailing in a dying wind you may have to paddle back.

4.Double check your boat's buoyancy, equipment, rigging and fixings before launching.

5.Dress appropriately for the conditions. It is easier to take off a layer than put it on.

6.Ensure you are wearing a personal buoyancy aid or lifejacket when afloat.

7.Consider wearing head protection, and don't forget sun cream.

8.Carry a mobile phone in a waterproof bag/container and/or a VHF radio. Tell your contact ashore that you are going out on the water and when you should be expected back.

9.Wear a waterproof watch.

10.Dinghies that cannot be self-propelled should carry a paddle for self-rescue.

11.Make sure you have long painters, righting lines and masthead floats if necessary.

12.Sail well within your comfort zone and do not take unnecessary risks. Guidance would suggest you only sail in moderate conditions even if you may often sail in strong breezes. We must be conservative and considerate and ensure we do not require the services of our Coastguard or RNLI.

13.If you capsize and are unable to right the boat always remain with the boat. Never try to swim to shore.

14.Contact someone ashore if you or another sailor get into difficulties. Provide them with information as to your status and location, and, if available an alternative means of contact.

15.Be vigilant of your surroundings, particularly for other vessels/craft and obstacles.

16.Avoid staying out alone and adhere to your schedule, otherwise you may cause concern that raises an alert.


1.De-rig as carefully as possible without touching hard surfaces in the dinghy park area.

2.Tidy all your kit into boat or car as required.

3.Use sanitiser on your hands regularly.

4.If you have disinfectant/a water canister with you, wash down as appropriate the hard surfaces you have touched or e.g., your trailer.

5.If you are taking your boat home, give it a further wash down.

6.If you are leaving your boat in the dinghy park, be aware of the requirement to disinfect the cover, boat and spars etc again the next time you come to use it.

7.On returning home, wash your hands, wash all kit and store appropriately until the next time you are sailing or kayaking.

It is envisaged the use of a hose, increased attendance in sessions, changing facilities etc will be permitted in a later phase as more restrictions are eased and our risk assessments enable this.

General Monitoring of the What's App and adherence to booking procedures.

Track & Trace of those on site and on the water during scheduled sessions.

Recording of non-members non-compliance to regulations.

An outline of the Covid-19 Officer role can be found here, and guidance to support the role can be found here.

Hard copies are stored with all required tracking sheets in the Storage box in the "Winch hut".

The Club has identified some zones to assist in social distancing and rigging / derigging areas whilst members are in a group of 2 households ( max 10 sailors/kayakers)

No support persons or spectators are permitted onsite during allotted sessions. The exception is the assigned Covid Officer.

Diagram of zones Scenario example

1.The first 3 sailors to arrive, if Toppers move boats to zone 1 for rigging.

2.If Laser sailors, move to zone 2 for rigging.

3.Further arrivals, if 3 sailors are in zone 1, use Zone 2.

4.If spacing appears to be limited, move to zone 3 to rig.

5.Launching order Zone 1, 2 then 3, return to shore in the same order if possible.

6.Remember - social distancing at all times.

7.No sailors are to approach or manage the launching / recovery of the RIB.

NOTE: If there is contact on the RIB or Trollies please sanitise hands before and after asap.

*** In an emergency the Coastguard may be reached by dialling 999 ***

Check the latest Government Guidelines


Last updated 19:19 on 15 November 2021

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