In England there now seems little doubt that provided social distancing measures are in place and we travel alone, we are allowed back on the water from Wednesday the 13th May. https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
The same does not apply however for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and Ireland:
Wales. Stay at home rules have been relaxed to remove the once-per-day restriction on exercise, but the overall stay at home message remains with pre-existing list of permissable activities. https://gov.wales/coronavirus
Scotland. Overall message remains stay at home. https://www.gov.scot/coronavirus-covid-19/
Northern Ireland. Overall message remains stay at home. https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/campaigns/coronavirus-covid-19
Ireland. Guidance to stay at home has been extended to May 18th. https://www.gov.ie/
For the Front Line Heroes
Well done everyone on your restraint so far. And to those who found their way to the water via foot path or trail we will not judge, but trust it has been done safely and with consequences measured. In our opinion the requirements of exercise set out have not restricted solo activities beyond those requiring travel by car or excessive risk. Our personal decision was simply to 'down tools' for the period.
For Those in England
Take it steady as we head to the beach from Wednesday 13th May. Make sure you adhere to social distancing measures, stay local, and hopefully we can help prevent the covid alert level from rising above 3. Risk assessments are going to be essential during this phase or recovery, so make sure you have made yours before you get on the water.
To help achieve this we should also head to our nearest beach possible - despite conditions. Avoid driving long distances for conditions where ever possible since, the less we travel the more we restrict potential spread of Covid 19. Please also be aware that in Wales, Scotland different rules apply and it has been made clear that people should not be travelling from outside the regions for leisure. Hence it is not acceptable to travel between regions in these cases for sport.
Something we have been discussing is the idea of an individual risk assessment before each visit to the beach. We do need to adhere to social distancing measures, we do not want to be picked up by the RNLI or coastguard or end up in hospital so let's all following some safety guidelines before going out.
Some risk assessment considerations would be:
- Check your equipment is safe. For those with sails, kites check thoroughly ropes, connectors, UJS, harnesses and harness lines. Leashes etc..
- Don't go out far. Not yet, just stay close to the shore. Simply put, do not go out further than you can swim in. That later rule is one I stick too anyway and it has served me well.
- Pay careful attention to tides, wind direction and possible wind shifts, wind strength and waves. Know what is going on before you go out. Observe the forecast and reference with local conditions. If in doubt ask someone (observing social distancing measures). AND IF IN DOUBT - DON'T GO OUT.
- Ideally don't go out alone but don't travel together (unless in same household) and observe social distances
- Tell someone in your household when you plan to return.
Some additional Covid 19 consideration would be:
- Avoid using public toilets,
- Avoid using coins in parking meters, instead use the phone service.
- Use gloves to refuel cars / vans etc.. but preferrably cycle to the beach. As many of us as possible should be using trailers and bikes to get to the beach. It's not so bad and feels damn good not polluting and being fuel efficient! I'd personally recommend a flat bed bike trailer from a company called Burley. Had it for 4 years, strong light and can fit 1 board, 2 sails and rig components wetsuit etc..
It aint over, Unfortunately
Our thoughts continue to go out to those who have lost loved ones. To those heroes who have been and continue to work so hard on the front line keeping us all safe. Thank you.
Stay safe everyone and have a helluva lot of fun.