SCRA Guidance for a safe return to Rowing on the Sea (When Revised Government Guidance Permits)

SCRA Guidance for a safe return to Rowing on the Sea (When Revised Government Guidance Permits)

*** 30 July UPDATE ***

“Further to the First Minister’s Statement at lunchtime on 30 July, we would suggest that the changes implemented over the coming days and weeks, in Phase 3, do not permit any further changes to the guidance previously issued below. Stuart, our Convenor, is in constant communication with SportScotland.

The SCRA Committee will be conferring with SportScotland as to any potential changes that could take effect during Phase 3.

We would encourage clubs to consider all the implications of a safe return to rowing relevant to their club.

Be prepared as it will happen some day.”

SCRA Guidance for a safe return to Rowing on the Sea (When Revised Government Guidance Permits).

This guidance is being issued following the publication of ‘Scotland’s route map through and out of the crisis’ (21 May ) and in light of the First Ministers Briefings on 28 May, 18 June, 9 July & 30 July. The route map sets out Scotland’s journey out of lockdown in four key phases. As we are sure you will be aware, there is to be little change to the current situation with regards to rowing St Ayles skiffs. (The exception being a crew of five living in the same household, and in compliance with other published requirements). Phase 1 does lift the restrictions for solo vessels such as picnic class, or those that can be used by a household group, to get back on the water. However, these activities should only be undertaken after careful risk assessment and compliance with advice regarding hygiene, social distancing with regards to launching and recovery where others may be present and travel distance to participate.

The advice of the SCRA is to continue to be patient and wait until restrictions are eased, in particular, those in relation to social distancing. This will not be in Phase 1, 2 or 3. It is simply not possible to row, complying with 2 metres social distancing, as the diagram below illustrates.

If each person has a circle around them of 1m radius/2m diameter, then to be 2m away from someone, your circle and their circle should not overlap. (If we were Victorian ladies wearing hoop skirts of radius 1m then we would not be able to get closer to other hoop skirt wearers than 2m.)

We are however, looking ahead to the re-introduction of on-water activities and how we do that safely in St Ayles skiffs, whilst adhering to Scottish Government guidelines and those of significant others, such as harbour authorities, RNLI, health bodies etc.

We know that exercising on the water brings enormous benefits in terms of both mental and physical health and our activities are often the lifeblood of our communities. If nothing else, now is an ideal time for clubs to take note of the most recent guidance and carefully risk assess their own activities in accordance with this, so that they are fully prepared to get back on the water once restrictions permit. You can read the Scottish Government’s ‘route-map’ here.

Risk assessments may pick up things which means that clubs cannot yet return to the water, or need to make significant changes to the way they operate, before they do. Clubs should also take into account the views of their members and the local community. It is worth noting that the evolving Covid-19 situation may mean that clubs in different parts of the country commence activities at different times.

When we reach the stage that clubs can get out, we will need to change some of the ways that we do things. At this stage, revised and simplified draft guidance below is restricted to going for a row with your club mates. Taking part in organising events will require a different risk assessment and may not occur for some time after rowing locally is possible. To begin with, it may be useful for club committees to do a virtual ‘walk-through’ of a typical rowing session to identify and take steps to respond to potential risks.

Here is some guidance which may assist with making safe decisions.

SCRA Guidance for when rowing resumes:

  1. Do not attempt to go rowing if you feel unwell, or have any symptoms consistent with Covid 19, or are supposed to be shielding, regardless of whether this may result in a row being cancelled.
  2. Consider safe management of those requiring assistance to get in / out of boats and whether this is possible within current advice and personnel.
  3. Use your own, clean equipment (water bottles, clothing, VHFs etc). If borrowed or club equipment is used (life jackets, seat cushions etc) this must be thoroughly cleaned between crews.

 (It is the soap and thorough scrubbing and then rinsing that helps to disable and remove any virus, and it does not matter if the water is hot or cold. Washing-up liquid is as good as soap for removing the virus. The soapy water should also help remove any virus from your hands at the same time).

  • Be mindful of ‘contact’ areas on the boat such as gunwales, seats, tillers, including rope tillers, etc and ensure these are wiped for each new crew.
  • Wash your hands before and after rowing. If you wear gloves, ensure your gloves are clean each time.
  • Follow Scottish Government advice with regard to face coverings. The face covering is to protect others, not the wearer.
  • The ‘Test and Protect’ contact-tracing app, may necessitate personal mobile phones being carried. (People signed up to this app receive a text alert on their phone, notifying them if they have been in contact with a person subsequently testing positive for Covid 19). However, be mindful that mobile signal may be absent in some areas.
  • Be more cautious than normal. You want to reduce the chances of others being called out to assist you until all support services are fully up and running.
  • Wash down the boats and oars with soapy water and/or disinfectant after the outing, paying particular attention to the parts which you know you have touched.
  • Wash / wipe down your kit when you get home, including your gloves. Wash your hands after your activity, and before you engage in other activity.
  • Further consideration will be necessary for those with club houses or undertaking boat building and routine maintenance.

If you are intending to take a picnic class boat or other small boat out, please only do so after carefully risk assessing the proposed activity, and at all times being very considerate of others and take extra care.   Remember that although what you are doing is probably not a club activity, any negative feedback or outcome will probably affect your club and indeed the whole fixed seat coastal rowing community.  Ensure that your local harbour authority are happy for you to use whatever facility you need to use to get on the water.  Follow the advice in the SCRA guidance document above in so far as it is applicable to your activity and always comply with Scottish Government advice re hygiene, social distancing and distance travelled to participate.

The future will be very different. Even into Phase 4 and beyond some of the hygiene and social distancing requirements may continue. Clubs need to consider the implications, such as more life jackets, access to cleaning/sanitizing facilities at their launch sites, etc. In the coming days, we will be adding to this post with examples of procedures developed by clubs, so please look out for these.    Last update: 30 July 2020  

Scottish Government updates are here:

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