All forms of watersports – including sailing, kayaking and motorboating – are allowed in England, subject to local regulations

All watersports, including the use of privately owned motorised craft, can go ahead in England from today (May 13) as the coronavirus lockdown restrictions are relaxed. In a statement this morning the Government announced:

All forms of watersports practised on open waterways, including sailing, windsurfing, canoeing, rowing, kayaking, surfing, paddle-boarding and the use of privately owned motorised craft (in line with the guidance issued by the relevant navigation authority) are allowed.”
Though pleased with the announcement, the Cruising Association warns that many of its members’ facilities – such as marinas and sailing clubs – have not yet had time to implement the social distancing and hygiene measures set out by the Government.
“There are variations in the relaxation of the rules and we therefore recommend that CA members check with their individual port or harbour authority, marina or inland or other navigation authority prior to taking any further action.” 

Canals, rivers and the Broads

The Canal & River Trust and the Broads are welcoming back boaters from today. Short boating trips can take place on waterways – avoiding use of locks and any staff-operated structures if possible – providing boaters do not stay away from home overnight and return to home moorings (where possible).

John Packman, Chief Executive of the Broads Authority, thanked private boat owners for their support during the coronavirus lockdown.  “I want to thank our private boat owners that have continued to pay their tolls during a period when they were not able to enjoy the Broads,” he said. “It is because of this that we were able to continue the essential work needed to enable their safe return.”

Marinas in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will remain closed to leisure customers until permitted by their local government to open.

What you should know before planning a trip

British Marine – which represents the leisure, superyacht and small commercial marine industry – urges all boat owners to consider the following before they plan a day trip to their boat:

  • Plan ahead – ensure the safety of those around you and try to avoid areas that may attract lots of people.
  • Check with your mooring provider before you travel.  Be aware that many facilities may not yet be able to open and this could affect services such as fuel and pump out stations.
  • Only use your boat if you can apply social distancing at all times, including when mooring your vessel to leave a safe distance from others.
  • Travel with members of your household only, if no one in the group is displaying COVID-19 symptoms.
  • You may only meet with people that are not within your household if you apply social distancing. You should not meet with more than one person outside your household
  • Be aware of the impact on emergency services if you were to get into difficulties. Think about what action you will take if your boat breaks down – recovery services may not be operating
  • Apply all normal sensible safety precautions and always wear a life jacket when on deck.
  • Pubs and restaurants are not allowed to open as normal – although some may offer takeaway services. Check with any businesses you wish to visit before you leave home.
  • Be caring and considerate of local residents who may be nervous about the risks of increased numbers of people in the area.
You can read the latest update on access to green (and blue) spaces here. Up-to-date information on Covid-19 Cruising Restrictions can be found here.