Harbours, boatyards and marinas are now starting to re-open and re-launch boats after they were forced to close due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
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 are allowed. As with all outdoor sports they must be done alone/with your household, or one other person while maintaining social distancing.
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Falmouth Boatyard now have to launch more than 250 boats, which will take between six and eight weeks.
As Covid-19 remains a threat, extra safety measures are now in place.
We’re keeping our team safe, ensuring they are safe from the public and the public are safe from us. We’re making everyone aware when they come through the gates that the social distancing rules still apply here as they do in the supermarkets.
The managing director of Plymouth's Mayflower Marina says this pandemic has been tough for the business.
Charles Bush said: "The visiting income and the visiting boats that we rely on so much in the South West, because they’re not allowed to stay overnight there will be very little visiting trade and that usually helps to support the local community as well because the visitor spend is usually quite high. We’re still not quite there but moving in the right direction."
It’s been worrying, frustrating and difficult in equal measure, the news last Sunday was very welcome. The sector of our business that is back to work is really our contract customer base.
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency are urging people to take care and take extra safety precautions before heading out to sea.
People are desperate to get out on the water but please take some time to do some basic safety checks. Is your boat fit and ready to go in the water, is it water tight, are all the seals sound, have you changed the fuel, have you checked the fuel, is it going to start, give it that mechanical service - as you would a car. Make sure you have a radio, a mobile phone and a method of raising the alarm if something goes wrong. Make sure you wear a lifejacket, make some checks, make sure that you and the people you’re going to sea with all come back safely.
James Instance and his team are anticipating a significant increase in maritime activity, he's concerned that could lead to an increase in incidents.
We only have a finite amount of resources, there are only so many lifeboats, there are only so many aircraft. Our fear is that we get cumulative incidents piling up and we can’t react to them all and we cannot get to one that develops and becomes increasingly serious and we unnecessarily lose lives.