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COVID-19 Update: Latest Guidance for Paddlesport Clubs, Centres and Hire Providers

July 2020, updated 15 October 2020

Introduction

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.

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.

This guidance relates only in England, as policy and guidance in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is subject to the devolved governments and their respective national governing bodies

Latest guidance - 24 September

Following the latest government announcement from 24 September, people aged 18 and over playing indoor team sports must adhere to the 'rule of six', which means playing in a group of no more than six people.

Clubs that have canoe polo teams can continue to play under the current guidance issued, provided they now limit the number of people aged 18 and over playing indoors to six.

Groups of adults within club gyms or other indoor training facilities should also be limited to groups of no larger than six.

As a covid-19 secure club you must assist NHS Track & Trace service by keeping a temporary record of your customers and visitors for 21 days, in a way that is manageable for your operation, and assist NHS Test and Trace with requests for that data if needed. Collect sufficient data on each attendee (name, home phone number, mobile number, date and times of entry and exit) so that each person could be contacted if there is a case of COVID-19 connected to your club. This could help contain clusters or outbreaks. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/wo...

Please note if you use a local or commercial facility you are likely to be asked to use NHS Track & Trace QR code posters displayed. If your club has a facility (e.g. Club House) you are strongly encouraged to display a QR code poster. You can read more about these requirements here and create your QR code here.

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 

(supplied with thanks to Canoe Wales)

Organised sport and physical activity exempt from new Rule of Six

In England, from Monday 14 September, new government guidelines on social gatherings state you must not meet in a group of more than 6, indoors or outdoors.

Sport England and the government has confirmed there will be exceptions, which include organised sport, exercises classes or licensed outdoor physical activity.

Coronavirus outbreak FAQs: what you can and can't do

These activities will either need to be organised by a national governing body, club, registered instructor/coach, business or charity; and/or involve someone who has received an official license to use equipment relevant to the activity. 

In all cases, the organiser must conduct a risk assessment and ensure compliance with COVID-19 Secure guidance.


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.

British Canoeing has provided the following guidance of information for clubs, centres and hire providers.

 

Social distancing and gatherings

  • Social distancing guidelines should be followed wherever possible. 
  • This means a distance of 2 metres between people from different households, or 1 metre plus mitigations (such as face coverings or avoiding face-to-face contact) where 2 metres is not possible
  • Public spaces should be designed to maintain 2 metre distances between people or by opening more entrances and exits, and limiting the number of people allowed into particular areas at one time
  • Under the current guidelines from 14 September it will be possible to exercise alone, or with up to 5 other people from outside your household.

 

Activities

  • Activities can take place, where the club, centre or provider has carried out risk assessments for both COVID-19 and for the paddling activity
  • All activity needs to fall within the club or facility’s safety plan and British Canoeing Paddlesafe guidance. Paddlers should ensure that they have a means to call for help at all times
  • Organised club, centre or provider activity is promoted through communication channels including website, social media, marketing collateral, club calendar or noticeboard
  • Clubs, centres and providers will need to communicate clearly and regularly with members and customers - setting out what they are doing to manage risk, and what advice they are giving to individuals to do likewise
  • From 24 September, covid-19 secure clubs must assist NHS Track & Trace service by keeping a temporary record of your customers and visitors for 21 days, in a way that is manageable for your operation, and assist NHS Test and Trace with requests for that data if needed. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/wo...
  • NHS Track & Trace QR code posters -  please be aware if you use a local or commercial facility you are likely to be asked to use NHS Track & Trace QR code posters displayed. If your club has a facility (e.g. Club House) you are strongly encouraged to display a QR code poster. You can read more about these requirements here and create your QR code here.
  • Club activities also include inter-club activities where the responsibility for risk assessment and management is carried out and then shared between all participating clubs.

Indoor based team sports and activities

From 24 September, people aged 18 and over playing indoor team sports must adhere to the 'rule of six', which means playing in a group of no more than six people.

Clubs that have canoe polo teams can continue to play under the current guidance issued, provided they now limit the number of people aged 18 and over playing indoors to six.

Groups of adults within club gyms or other indoor training facilities should be limited to groups of no larger than six.

If an indoor activity is in an area with a Local COVID alert level of high or very high organised sport will only be permitted indoors if it is possible for people to avoid mixing with people they do not live with or share a support bubble with, or the activity is for youth (under 18) or disability sport.

Full details about the local COVID alert levels and the areas within these restrictions can be found on the government website.

Further details on indoor sport is available on the Sport England website.

Further details about local COVID alert levels can be found below.


Equipment

  • Club boats can be used subject to a booking system being in place and a rigorous cleaning and hygiene procedure being followed to clean the boat after use.
  • Clubs make communication with members very clear including how members are able to access equipment/facilities and their responsibilities when on site and opening times and how to use booking systems
  • Centres and providers can decide whether or not they hire out equipment, including canoes and other paddle craft. Operators should follow government guidance on water sports and sharing equipment


 

Facility management

  • Clubs, centres and providers are advised only to open the minimum facilities required to allow access to boats and equipment in a safe manner. 
  • Full guidance on indoor areas, including gyms and changing rooms, is available in the government guidance.
  • Bars and restaurants, including any food or drink facilities inside a clubhouse, centre or facility can open in accordance with the latest guidance, and from 24 September, will be required to close no later than 10pm.
  • Cleaning protocols should be put in place to limit transmission in public places. It is advised that touch points should be particular areas of focus for increased cleaning.
  • Maintaining hygiene, through hand washing, sanitisation facilities and toilets. If you can, wear a face covering in an enclosed space where social distancing isn’t possible and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet
  • For centres and providers booking in advance, online or over the phone is preferable. Where this is not possible, and a venue has staff available to take bookings consider mandating contactless or at least card payment, to avoid handling cash
  • Full details on Guidance for providers of outdoor facilities on the phased return of sport and recreation in England is available on the government website

 

Coaches, leader and guided activity

  • Led, coached, or guided activity may take place so long as social distancing is maintained
  • Anyone leading activity should ensure appropriate safety frameworks are in place, that delivery is in safe and familiar environments and that the paddler is self-sufficient and no equipment is shared
  • Clubs and coaches are reminded that any coaching of under 18s and adults at risk on a 1:1 basis should be avoided


Qualifications and Awards

Following recent confirmation with CIMPSA, DCMS and Sport England, British Canoeing is pleased to confirm that the running of qualifications and awards is allowed under the exemption of education and training, within the government's new guidance on social distancing.

Clubs, centres and training providers offering formal British Canoeing Qualifications and Awards 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.

As Training Providers, you are best placed to make appropriate and responsible decisions on whether qualifications and awards can be delivered ensuring the safety of yourself and others, as well as delivering to the standard required on both training and assessments.  

Further guidance on staffing ratios for qualifications and awards is available on the British Canoeing Awarding Body website.

 

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 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.

Crew Boats and sitting on the wash

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:

  • The use of face masks
  • 1 metre separation marks on the craft
  • Technical workouts rather than physical sessions to reduce over exertion
  • Robust cleaning procedures
  • Keeping a record of individuals within a craft to aid track and trace
  • Paddlers not turning round to face another crew member to talk
  • In carrying boats to and from the water, care should be taken to minimise cross contamination prior to cleaning

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. 


Rescues

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.

  • Talking them into the side to safety
  • Providing advice to get back into/onto their craft
  • Use of a throwline or reaching aid
  • Towing - using a towline or a contact tow that provides adequate distance such as holding the front of the craft or nudging/shoving their craft

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:

  • If time allows without the risk of life - wearing of a face mask
  • Keeping a record of individuals involved in the rescue to aid track and trace
  • Follow the specific COVID-19 advice for first aid treatment 

 

Practising rescues

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.

 

Team Activities

British Canoeing has submitted action plans for the return of multi-person paddling activities (rafting, canoe polo) as part of the Return to Recreational Team Sport Framework

Guidance on a return to canoe polo can be found here.

Guidance on a return to raft racing can be found here.

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.

Local COVID alert levels

The local COVID alert levels apply in England only (see guidance for WalesScotland, and Northern Ireland) and come into force from Wednesday 14 October.

Full details about the local COVID alert levels and the areas within these restrictions can be found on the government website.

Local COVID alert levels set out information for local authorities and residents about what to do and how to manage the outbreak in their area.  

There are three levels: medium, high and very high, and government advice for each level includes:


Local COVID alert level: medium

This is for areas where national restrictions continue to be in place.   

  • you must not socialise in groups larger than 6, indoors or outdoors (other than where a legal exemption applies)
  • businesses and venues can continue to operate, in a COVID-secure manner, other than those that remain closed in law
  • exercise classes and organised sport can continue to take place outdoors, or indoors if the rule of 6 is followed


Local COVID alert level: high

This is for areas with a higher level of infections where some additional restrictions are in place. This means on top of restrictions in alert level medium:

  • you must not socialise with anybody outside of your household or support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place
  • you must not socialise in a group of more than 6 outside, including in a garden or other open spaces (other than where specific exemptions apply in law)
  • businesses and venues can continue to operate, in a COVID-secure manner, other than those that remain closed in law
  • exercise classes and organised sport can continue to take place outdoors. These will only be permitted indoors if it is possible for people to avoid mixing with people they do not live with or share a support bubble with, or for youth or disability sport

Further details on indoor sport is available on the Sport England website.

 
Local COVID alert level: very high

This is for areas with a very high level of infections and where tighter restrictions are in place. The restrictions placed on areas with a very high level of infections can vary, and are based on discussions between central and local government. At a minimum, this means:

  • you must not socialise with anybody you do not live with, or have formed a support bubble with, in any indoor setting or in any private garden or at most outdoor hospitality venues 
  • you must not socialise in a group of more than 6 in an outdoor public space 
  • exercise classes and organised sport can continue to take place outdoors. These will only be permitted indoors if it is possible for people to avoid mixing with people they do not live with (or share a support bubble with), or for youth or disability sport

Further details on indoor sport is available on the Sport England website.

  • you should try to avoid travelling outside the very-high alert level area you are in or entering a very-high alert level area, other than for things like work, education or youth services,  or if you are travelling through as part of a longer journey
  • you should avoid staying overnight in another part of the UK if you are resident in a very-high alert level area, or avoid staying overnight in a very-high alert level area if you are resident elsewhere

The government will also seek to agree additional interventions in consultation with local authorities, in order to drive down transmission of the virus. This could include the following option:

  • closing venues such as leisure centres and gyms (while ensuring provision remains available for elite athletes, youth and disabled sport and physical activity)

Further information

British Canoeing - A return to paddling in England

Guidance on the phased return of sport and recreation

Guidance for providers of outdoor facilities on the phased return of sport and recreation in England

HM Government Coronavirus COVID-19 website

UK ACTIVE Guidance on cleaning at sports facilities

Club Covid 19 Risk Assessment Template (PDF)  

Club Covid 19 Risk Assessment Template (Word)

COVID 19 Consent Form

COVID Club Posters