We are pleased to provide additional and updated guidance to paddlesport clubs, centres and hire providers in England.
The advice provided is based on government guidance that has been issued to support the return of sport and recreation in England, last updated on 9 July 2020.
This guidance has been produced with the intention to enable clubs, centres and hire providers to operate safely and deliver paddlesport activities.
British Canoeing’s priority remains to protect the health of our members and the paddlesport community to help to suppress the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Each setting will be unique and British Canoeing hopes that through completing a COVID-19 risk assessment clubs, centres and providers will be able to decide how best to deliver paddlesport activities for their members, volunteers, customers and staff.
Managing the COVID-19 Risk
Clubs, centres and providers will need to put in place plans and COVID-19 risk assessments to reduce the risk of transmission through the use of any areas of the facility or shared equipment. Every setting will have slightly different considerations.
There are four steps you should follow to manage the risk of COVID-19 in your activities:
1. Read the latest guidance from the government and British Canoeing and consider how this affects the activity you wish to deliver.
2. Complete a COVID-19 risk assessment, which includes identifying all the safety protocols you must put in place. This is mandatory.
3. Produce a simple, easy to read summary of your COVID-19 protocols.
4. Share this information with staff, volunteers and participants and provide any training or briefings as required.
You should think of this process as a cycle, which restarts each time there is a change in official guidance. As soon as that guidance changes, you should review your risk assessment and start this process over again.
The COVID-19 Guidance Process
Provision in Clubs, Centres and Hire Providers
Any facilities associated with outdoor sports and physical activities are permitted to re-open. Each venue should make their own decisions about when their facilities are ready.
Working to ensure the outdoor activity can meet public health guidelines. All activity should be consistent with the government guidance regarding health, social distancing and good hygiene.
Much of the requirements to deliver paddlesport activity safely within clubs, centres and providers is fully covered in the DCMS Phased Return to Outdoor Sport and Recreation in England guidance, last updated on 9 July 2020.
British Canoeing has provided the following guidance of information for clubs, centres and hire providers.
Social distancing and gatherings
Coaches, leader and guided activity
Children’s holiday activities and out of school provision
If you are running Children's Holiday Activity, the Department for Education has published advice on 1st July giving guidance on what is provision for out of school settings.
Our interpretation of this is that clubs, centres and providers can run Out of School Hours provision providing they comply with the government guidance.
Please note this guidance differentiates between term-time and holiday provision. You cannot run your normal club activity as a holiday activity.
Due to the recent changes of Government guidance British Canoeing has provided the following advice on the use of crew boats (more than 1 person in a craft).
To minimise the risk of infection from COVID-19 the use of crew boats should be considered on a case by case basis and with the appropriate mitigation in place.
Social distancing remains at 2 metres unless mitigating measures allow a reduction to 1 metre plus. Being outdoors provides a basic mitigation but for a crew boat, the following mitigations could include:
Participants should be aware that if paddling within the same boat as someone at a distance of less than 2 meters then there are additional risks as compared to paddling apart, and as such people should make an individual choice as to whether or not to participate.
Within events, crew boats can be included however organisers should consider carefully whether formal competition, such as a national championships or ranking races, should be organised as this may place undue pressure on people to participate.
The organising of scratch crews should be discouraged as this increases interaction between a wider range of people during the event.
During this period of physical distance measures we would encourage that any paddlesport activity is carefully considered to minimise the need to rescue.
However from time to time it is inevitable that a rescue may need to be carried out, and most definitely required if a person's life is at risk or without intervention the situation could escalate.
There are many rescue techniques that keep appropriate distances between the rescuer and casualty and would be regarded as lower risk.
Other rescue techniques may be required due to the situation, and although this may increase the risk it would be deemed necessary to save a life or prevent the situation from getting worse such as physically helping someone back into/onto their craft, an unconscious casualty, a rafted tow to support an injured person.
If such rescues are carried out it is recommended that mitigations are considered:
Many paddlers have expressed they would like to practice their rescues to ensure their safety as well as others. We could recommend that many rescues can be practised with appropriate physical distancing measures such as recovering craft, emptying of water, towing and throwlines.
These rescues can all be practised without a paddler being in or on their craft or in the water. We advise that such rescues are carried out in a safe sheltered environment and that equipment can be easily recovered if a practised rescue is unsuccessful.
Paddlers from the same household could choose to practice rescues with each other in the water, but we would urge that water quality is considered as well as practising within safe sheltered environments and both paddlers can independently and easily get to the side if a practised rescue is unsuccessful.
British Canoeing has been asked to submit an action plan for the return of multi-person paddling activities (rafting, canoe polo) as part of the Return to Recreational Team Sport Framework.
We will publish details once approval has been given by the government for these activities.
A definition of group size is available in the Environmental Guidance for Coaches and Leaders.
Competitions and Events
For those looking to organise competitive events there is separate guidance for a return to competitions and events in England.