Coronavirus Update #09

Published Tue 13 May 2020

We are as keen as any of you to get back on the water, but this needs to be done as safely as possible and only when Government guidance allows.

The Government guidance on ‘accessing green spaces’ was updated this morning and this gave positive news in relation to our water-based activities. The revised guidance is that:

“All forms of water sports practiced 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.”

We have also received confirmation from Shoreham Port that they will now be allowing ‘leisure vessels’ to access the locks and Shoreham Port generally.

Restrictions on the number of vessels that can access the lock at any one time will be put in place to ensure social distancing can be maintained. 

This will mean ‘no rafting’. The Port have also said that no leisure vessels will be able to use the ‘big lock’ and that anyone entering the ‘small lock’ will have to moor on the pontoon and not the North wall. They have said that they will cycle the lock as many times as necessary to get everyone who wants to go in or out through. Additionally, they have requested that any boat wishing to use the lock radios the Harbour Office to ‘book a slot’. 

What this means for SYC and its members:

Keelboats

  • You will be able to use your own boats from today. 
  • Please note however:
    • the generic Government guidance that you may still only meet with one person outside of your household and that even then you must keep 2 metres apart, so effectively you may only have members of your own household on your boat.
    • we would advise you only put to sea in conditions that you and your vessel can easily handle as if you were to get into difficulty the RNLI and Coastguard would have to risk their own safety for you. 
  • We will not yet be able to offer organised Club activities, be that racing, rallying or pursuiting as we feel this would create an atmosphere where maintaining social distancing would be impossible.
  • Anyone who has booked launch or recovery from SYC will need to ensure that they have adequate crew (from their own household) for the launch/recovery to take place. SYC Club staff will not be available to assist in bringing your boat to Shoreham for lift out or taking it back to its moorings after launch.
  • Club boats will not be available for use.

Dinghies

  • You will be able to use your own boats from today.
  • Please note however:
    • the generic Government guidance that you may still only meet with one person outside of your household and that even then you must keep 2 metres apart, so effectively you may only have members of your own household on your boat.
    • There will be no safety boat cover, so we would strongly advise that you and your boat can easily handle the conditions as if you were to get into difficulty the RNLI and Coastguard would have to risk their own safety for you.
    • If you do put to Sea, we advise that you take a waterproof handheld radio with you.
  • Club boats will not be available for use.

SUPS, Kayaks, Rowing

  • You will be able to use your own boats from today.
  • Please note however:
    • the generic Government guidance that you may still only meet with one person outside of your household and that even then you must keep 2 metres apart.
    • There will be no safety boat cover, so we would strongly advise that you and your boat only out to sea in conditions you can easily handle as if you were to get into difficulty the RNLI and Coastguard would have to risk their own safety for you.
    • If you do put to Sea, we advise that you take a waterproof handheld radio with you.
  • Club boats will not be available for use. 

Training

  • The Club is still unable to offer any shore based or on the water training activities as it would be impossible to maintain social distancing.

Clubhouse, changing rooms etc.

  • These will remain closed in accordance with current Government guidance.

We hope this will be positive news for you, and a first step towards the resumption of ‘normal’ activity at SYC. We will, of course, continue to monitor the situation and keep you updated as we are able to.

As this is an ever-changing situation, we advise that you should always check for the latest guidance issued by the Government, RYA, RNLI and SYC before you decide to go afloat.

Please also be aware that Sussex Yacht Clubs reputation with our stakeholders and within the local and sailing communities could be jeopardised by our actions over the coming weeks and we ask all members to take this into account.

Stay safe, and hopefully see you all on the water soon.

Adam Thompson
Rear Commodore - Afloat