Your Brexit questions answered, 2 Oct

Howard Pridding (RYA Director of External Affairs) and Stuart Carruthers (RYA Cruising Manager) will give an online presentation from 7.30 pm on Friday 2 October, with opportunity for questions. Registration is required and attendance is free. We hope it will help to clarify things for boaters about 2021 and beyond.  Register at www.ryabrexitforum2020.eventbrite.co.uk

The online forum is in lieu of a face to face forum, which is now not possible following the latest government stipulations about meeting only in groups of 6. The forum is specifically being offered for boaters in the RYA London and SE region, but will be opened up to others if numbers permit. There is a limit of about 250.

Have your say on the future of red diesel

HMRC is seeking information about the proposed changes to the rules surrounding the uses of red diesel. During the Budget the Chancellor shared plans for the intended removal of entitlement to use red diesel from April 2022, except for the agriculture sector (including forestry, horticulture and fish farming), railways, and where red diesel is used to power non-commercial heating systems, such as in homes, narrowboats and places of worship.   

The consultation has now been launched by Government and seeks to gather evidence as to whether other sectors, including recreational boating, should be allowed to maintain use of the fuel beyond April 2022.  The RYA’s case for retaining red diesel is about existing supply needs, not colour, tax status or price. Recreational boaters already pay the full rate of duty and VAT when purchasing fuel for the purposes of propulsion.

The RYA will therefore be looking at the proposals to reform the tax treatment of red diesel closely to see how this might affect the supply of fuel for recreational use for both propulsion and how it will impact supply for domestic usage such as heating. The further west and north you travel in the UK the more likely it is that you will have to rely on waterside outlets that only supply red diesel for commercial purposes, such as to fishing fleets. In many places, some remote, the limited quantities of fuel used by recreational craft do not warrant the cost of installing additional equipment to supply white diesel for the recreational boating sector.

If the Government removes the entitlement to use red diesel from most sectors from April 2022 and white diesel is consequently made as widely available as red diesel is now, then supply of fuel will not be affected. The RYA will be responding to this call for evidence and urges users of diesel propelled craft, particularly private pleasure craft, and those involved in the supply of fuel to UK craft to participate in the consultation.

To have your say on the future of red diesel please click here. 

The consultation closes at 11.45pm on 1 October 2020. 

To read more about the RYA’s lobbying developments with red diesel please click here. If you have any questions regarding red diesel or any other current affair issues please visit the Current Affairs page on the RYA website or email cruising@rya.org.uk

Anger at boats anchoring overnight

Local “ditch crawler” Nick Ardley has expressed anger at the two dozen boats anchored overnight in Stangate Creek at the bank holiday weekend and has written to Kelly Tolhurst, the Shipping Minister and MSBA Patron. He points out that the current law is clear that we must all return to our homes overnight and not stay in caravans, second home or boats. He concedes that, while being in a boat is a perfect way to self isolate, the law is clear. The RYA has published a guide to help us understand how it applies to boating:

It’s Official: Return to boating from today!

The UK government now allows unlimited outdoor activities, including all watersports, in England from 13 May. Also there is no limit on car travel to enjoy these activities.

However only members of one household can be together. Also we must continue to observe hygiene and social distancing rules and be very careful to mitigate any risk to the emergency services. Boating is the safest outdoor activity (or “sport” if you prefer) for social distancing and many of us rely on it for our mental and physical well-being. However incidents of irresponsible boating behaviour risk jeopardising our new found freedom, so let’s take care!

Unlike other harbour authorities, Peel Ports have resisted the temptation to add to the confusion by imposing restrictions on recreational boating on the Medway and Swale. However clubs and marinas have been advised to carry out risk assessments and document procedures, so we should not rush back to our boats until these measures are in place.

RYA updated Covid-19 guidance for affiliated clubs.

British Marine Coronavirus Hub

Return to Boating?

The RYA is developing a ‘Return to Boating’ strategic framework which aims to create consistency across the boating community whilst also providing the freedom and autonomy to make decisions based on your club’s unique set of considerations. In the meantime, the RYA encourages your club to start considering the following:

  • How could your club facilitate activity which minimises the risk of transmitting infection? (including operating within any necessary social restrictions, adequate cleaning & hygiene measures and deciding which communal areas of the club will need to remain closed).
  • How can your club reduce the likelihood of a callout to emergency services? (enhanced risk assessment/management, maintenance and safety)

The RYA will support your club through this process and is planning a series of interactive webinars through their #SailFromHome programme to address each point in turn. Keep up to date here…

RYA lobbies government on Coronavirus measures

The RYA has written to members after approaching the government on behalf of boaters who need to access their boats whilst respecting Covid-19 guidelines: “We believe there are measures that could be permitted within the existing Government guidance to allow access for essential maintenance – and this applies not just to marinas, but also to club dinghy parks and boats on moorings. … With all sports now beginning to consider recovery, our plans are now well advanced on our ‘return to boating strategy’ in collaboration with the Sport and Recreation Alliance and their representations to Cabinet Office, as well as the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport. We are looking forward to supporting a safe and appropriate return to the water and we will be getting the message over that there is a very strong case for boating to be one of the first activities that could be resumed safely within any necessary parameters for social distancing, once we start to see a relaxation of the current restrictions.”

Keep updated on the Coronavirus section of the RYA website…

Access to boats in marinas

The Coronavirus advice section of the RYA’s website mentions the following regarding access to boats in marinas, and presumably clubs with moorings:

The RYA is making representations to Government and the marinas sector trade body, The Yacht Harbour Association (TYHA) regarding the issues for boat owners arising out of the closure of marinas. This reflects the concerns of members who have contacted us about their inability to access their boats and protect their assets. We are acutely aware that worries about boat security, maintenance and the impact on insurance cover are all are creating anxiety and stress for boat owners at this time.

We are also making the case that there are many people who could visit their boat while adhering strictly to Government guidelines on hygiene and social distancing. For many, the opportunity to spend time on their boat and possibly do some simple maintenance or cleaning would greatly enhance their well-being and provide peace of mind in respect of the issues of concern. 

Is your club unsure of what to do about Covid-19?

The RYA website has a Covid-19 Hub which includes key information for clubs, recreational boaters and training centres. The RYA Legal and Government Affairs team is working hard to interpret government announcements and understand the detail to provide us with accurate information. For instance, if it is OK to go for a bike ride can we go for a solo sail?

UPDATE: Some interesting comments here. Click on Replies.

Keep Racing (Virtually)

Free offer for RYA affiliated sailing clubs: keep your members engaged whilst following government guidelines on social distancing.

Virtual Regatta (eSailing) Inshore provides players with an opportunity to race against friends, fellow sailors and real-world Olympic champions. All UK players will automatically be entered into the exclusive GBR eSailing National Championship, racing the same challenges, seasons and playoffs as the eSailing World Championship and ranking both nationally and globally.

UPDATE: The free 12 month VIP pass for clubs was closed on 1 April.