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

On the Water during Covid-19

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

    • Version 1 - Issued 30 May - Retired
    • Version 2 - Issued 14 June - (amended to highlight that 10 people may now gather as per Government guidelines)
    • Version 3 - Issued 3 July - (incorporating version 2 and adding the additional activity; the Club will facilitate a safety boat on a specified day and time for Sailors)
    • Version 4 - Issued 10 July - (following clarification of the easing of restrictions by RYANI - no restriction on grouping of sailors)
    • Version 5 - Issued 30 July - (clarifications - sizing restrictions only aligned to Club Safety cover)
    • Version 6 - Issued 10 October (addition of Covid-19 Officer role)
    • Version 7 - Issued 11 December (restrictions eased permitting more than 15 to race or train when a Covid Officer is in place and a full risk assessment carried out. All other guidance also applies.

    The Sailing Committee have undertaken a further 'Return to the Water' review in line with NI Executive Guidance NI Executive Covid-19 Guidance and RYANI COVID-19 guidance 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.

    NEW : Covid-19 Officer role established October 2020 and re-activated 11 December 2020

    A knowledgeable member will step into this role for each on-the-water session for the remainder of the season.

    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


    All of the guidance that was effective from 30 May 2020 in this policy still applies to our Recreational Boaters. Additional text in italics has been added to compliment the Guidance for Recreational Boaters with no Safety cover. Please review before you take to the water.

    You may be asked to confirm you have read and accept the Guidance on joining the What's App group and joining the Club session.

    The self-contained Recreational Boaters have been assessed as separate grouping from the Club session described below that offers safety boat cover.

    These independent sailors may rig and launch 30 mins before or after the Club managed group times of rigging along with timings for launch/recovery. (defined below) This ensures all parties may maximise the good sailing conditions and enjoy the open on the water activities.

    All sailors and support teams must be observant of social distancing and utilise the zones. Sailors should pay special attention to the return to shore at the designated times to avoid distancing limitations.

    If conditions require all on the water users to return to shore at short notice, they must do so without delay ensuring they maintain distancing measures where possible, use all zones and the extended promenade in these exceptional circumstances. Focus on derigging quickly and leaving the Club areas as soon as possible.



    SATURDAY 15:00 - 16:00 on the Water

    (Safety Boat team arrival 14:30- 14:45 for preparations, leave by approx 16:30)

    SUNDAY 14:00-16:00 on the water

    (Safety Boat team arrival 13:30- 13:45 for preparations, leave by approx 16:30)

    Sample timings only as a guide

    • 13:45 -14:00 Safety boat launch begins
    • 13:30 -13:45 Rig Boats as per zones
    • 14:00 - 14:15 Dinghies begin launching
    • 14:15 - 15:45 1.5 hours on the water with safety boat
    • 15:45 - 16:00 Dinghies begin return, order of launching
    • 16:00 - 16:30 De-rig and leave zones
    • 16:00 - 16:30 Recover Safety boat (Crew and one designated Adult sailor)

    A Club session will be offered to a max grouping (15) sailors and 2 Safety Boat team on 1 RIB. (No Club boats may be booked for use at present). This number is based upon the Club's risk assessment of having only one RIB on the water. If additional support inflatable dinghies are available this may increase the no.s of sailors to be covered. The Safety Boat in charge will have to make this decision.


    The Club has volunteers from the same household volunteering to crew a Safety boat. The Procedures have been provided to them for the launching and recovery activity. Additional risk mitigation actions: gloves, face covering/mask, sanitisers and disinfection fluids employed.

    The Club has identified some zones to assist in social distancing and rigging / derigging areas whilst members are in a group of approx 15 (2 being the Safety boat team)

    Diagram of zones

    • 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.


    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: At this phase there will only be a safety boat offered on a specific day & time. (either Saturday or Sunday). 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)

    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, click this link: Link Return to Water, or contact 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. As there is now a Safety boat Session offered 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 session". This will ensure the official group of 10 remains in place and social distancing is maintained onshore.

    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.

    In future weeks as we can facilitate further easing of restrictions on use of the club facilities the Club will be introducing session times and a booking system to limit 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 BOATING (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 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 bring hand sanitiser for personal use. Hand sanitiser will NOT be available at the club at this stage.

    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 often 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 to go 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; A Club supervised session is active, or if changes in Government guidelines require the Club 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 your personal sanitiser on hands.

    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.

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

    Check the latest Government Guidelines

    Be Prepared before undertaking activity prior to arrival at any shared space. (e.g. can you change prior to arrival?)View the RYA and RNLI Better Boating Guide


Last updated 21:57 on 13 December 2020

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