Harbour users COVID-19 guidance

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Following my recent update to you, I have today (Thursday 14 May) received further guidance from DEFRA, the British Ports Association and the United Kingdom Harbour Masters Association.  I have copied below some information that will be of interest to all our users and will hopefully answer the majority of questions we are receiving.

What water-based activities can I take part in?

  • 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/marina / harbour authority) are allowed.
  • You may participate in water-based activities as an individual, household group, or as a pair of two people from different households who are socially distancing (i.e. you should keep at least 2 metres apart).  For example, it would not be possible to form a ‘double’ canoe or kayak or rowing boat with someone from outside your household because it would be impossible when doing so to follow social distancing guidelines.
  • As longer trips outdoors are generally allowed, owners of both private and commercial boats can now make day visits to their moored boats in marinas and elsewhere to ensure they are properly maintained.
  • Commercial passenger boating operations currently remain closed. Some areas of the hospitality sector are anticipating starting to re-open in July, but this will be subject to further government advice.

If angling is being permitted, am I also allowed to go canoeing/paddling?

  • Where individuals have either a licence with the navigation authority or a voluntary agreement with riparian landowners in place, then private canoeing/paddling for individuals from the same household is permitted, subject to being careful and staying away from other users and houseboats.

Can I go to visit my private boat to sit on it and enjoy the sunshine?

  • People are permitted to travel to make day visits to their private boats in marinas and elsewhere to sit on them either individually or with members of their household, subject to being careful and staying away from other users and houseboats in line with social distancing guidelines and the guidelines set out by the relevant marina/harbour authority.

Can I now go and stay on my boat overnight or for a few days?

  • The guidance on staying at your primary residence still applies. Overnight visits and extended stays on private boats are not permitted.

Can I go on my private boat with someone from a different household if we stay two metres apart?

  • On small private boats it would not be possible to be in the same boat with someone from another household because it would be impossible to follow social distancing guidelines.
  • On larger private boats, we recommend that you avoid sharing a boat with a person from a different household.  If you do share a boat with someone outside of your household, you should stay at least two metres apart – and it should only be with one other person.  Cleaning protocols should be put in place to limit coronavirus transmission on boats. Frequent cleaning of boats, using your usual cleaning products is advised, with increased attention given to touch points (e.g. handrails).  Please also remove waste and belongings from boats when finishing a day-trip.

Will marinas re-open to allow people to visit their boats and carry out essential maintenance?

  • Marinas may re-open to allow people to visit their boats to carry out maintenance, ensuring appropriate measures are in place to follow social distancing guidelines.

Am I allowed to walk around marinas, as well as access my boat to sit on?

  • This is primarily a matter for the marina operators to decide, but if it can be done safely following social distancing guidelines then it should be possible.

Am I allowed to remove my boat from the marina for private boating?

  • This is primarily a matter for the marina operators to decide, but if it can be done safely following social distancing guidelines then it should be possible.

Our harbours

Our priority is the safety and wellbeing of our staff, harbour users, emergency services and our local communities.

We need some time to employ the appropriate measures to meet or exceed the new guidelines to provide a COVID-19 secure environment to allow our ports to operate as safely as reasonably practicable.

As such we would like to make berth holders feel welcome to safely visit their vessels from 12.00pm on Friday 15 May, albeit we recommend this is limited to carrying out essential maintenance checks on vessels, while adhering to the above guidance and respecting and adhering to social distancing at all times.

We are not currently in a position to accept visiting leisure vessels or slipway day launches. We anticipate this will change in the not too distant future, but more time is needed to enable us to ensure the onshore facilities meet the new COVID-19 standards.  Changes regarding visiting vessels and day launches will be made available on our website.

At present we are not in a position to allow vessels to lift in or out of the harbour without the express permission of the Harbour Office.  A large number of movements need to take place to restore normal berthing and these will be coordinated over the coming weeks.

We ask that your contact with our staff is primarily carried out over the telephone. Where this is not possible, please respect social distancing. Ancillary payments where possible should be by phone or contactless methods.

I would like to thank you for your continuing support in adhering to the government guidelines and wish you a safe season.

Capt. Ian Vasey

Borough Harbour Master