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See below the latest guidance from The Department of Culture, Media & Sport regarding a return to sport and recreational activity

(England only)

Also provided below with the kind permission of the BPA is a accompanying message regarding the guidance;

The BPA and the UKHMA have now received confirmation that many recreational marine activities can resume in England, subject to certain health measures and social distancing restrictions. We are sharing two areas of guidance English operators can use.

DCMS sport & recreation guidance
Last night the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, published its guidance on the phased return of sport and recreation in England. Included is guidance for members of the public and providers of outdoor sports and recreation facilities.

The guidance for the public includes advice on water sports (at the end) which it says is now permitted, similar to that is given in the Defra Green Spaces advice contained in BPA Circular 313.

The guidance for providers of outdoor facilities does not mention marine facilities but does contain useful advice covering cleaning of facilities, maintaining hygiene, precautions for staff, social distancing and also rules for restaurants, car parks and changing rooms, which providers should follow.

Defra marine leisure FAQs
Alongside this the DfT have shared a list of very useful list of FAQs on marine leisure, which were prepared by Defra. These have not been published on the site yet but the DfT’s navigational safety team have encouraged us to circulate this to ports as they will help clarify a number of issues. The DfT are now discussing this with the MCA to see if any additional advice is needed. These FAQs are definitely worth reviewing.

Essentially they say that marina type operations and non-commercial marine leisure activities are able to start, subject to accommodating coronavirus health and safety guidance. The visiting of boats in marinas and sailing is now permitted, subject to local rules.

The document does suggest though that it will be for individual marina/facility owners to consider whether they are able to restart their services whilst ensuring the safety of their staff and users. It also gives the option for marina operators and navigation authorities such as ports to use their own rules to control activity.

What this means for ports
This all means subject to addressing social distancing and other hygiene measures, English ports can open marina, pontoon, mooring and slipway facilities without the risk of contravening government advice on coronavirus.

We appreciate that some ports may need a short period before opening to carry out risk assessments, introduce modifications and to bring back furloughed staff. You may therefore wish to manage the expectations of your users, many of whom we know are keen to get back out on the water. If used, you can edit/tailor the statement we circulated on Tuesday evening.

However, the overarching rules on social distancing and not mixing groups from outside a household (depending on boat size) as well as overnight stays are not permitted. Ports may want to reiterate these points to leisure users.

National issues
We will also ask what guidance may be produced in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales as recreational and sports policy are devolved matters and lockdown restrictions are different.

We are also continuing to discuss a separate joint statement with UKHMA, British Marine and RYA and will take this forward if possible.

British Ports Association



The UKHMA will continue to work alongside the BPA in assisting all members of both Associations in managing the challenging transition from full lockdown towards phased operational return.


Executive Officer