RYA confirms boating is permitted, but…

The RYA has published its understanding of the current restrictions in England that apply for 4 weeks until 2 December:

  • Recreational boating from a public outdoor space for single households and support bubbles or with one other person (with social distancing) is currently permitted
  • Public waterways and beaches will remain open during the lockdown
  • Outdoor sports centres and amenities (which includes sailing clubs and watersports centres) will have to close
  • Members may be able to access boats for essential checks and maintenance, however, this will need to be agreed with their club/marina/harbour authority, with individuals taking personal responsibility for meeting Government guidance
  • University sport will not be taking place
  • School sport will be happening but only as part of organised school activity
  • Some charities may be able to continue aspects of their work
  • There are continuing exemptions for elite athletes for them to train or compete, so the British Sailing Team programme can continue
  • No overnight stays are allowed on boats except for residential berth holders (where the boat is their Primary Residence) or for business purposes

Read the full article…

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…