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Guidelines issued for the immediate return of rafting racing

British Canoeing has today issued new guidelines to support the immediate return of white water rafting racing.

Return To Rafting Aug Ph5 7088

The guidelines for a return to raft racing have been confirmed with the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and in line with the return to recreational team sport framework issued by the government last month.

British Canoeing: Return to Team Activities – Rafting  - PDF

The guidelines relate only to England, as policy and guidance in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is subject to the devolved governments and their respective national governing bodies.

Sean Clarke, Chair of British Rafting said:

“It's been a long wait, but now the raft racing family can meet again in a covid compliant environment. A huge thanks to all those involved in getting this approved.

With only minor changes to the way we hold raft race competitions, a covid safe environment can be implemented at our events. I ask everyone participating to continue to stay safe and abide by all of the protocols out in place to ensure everyone's continued safety. See you on the water soon. #RaftersAreAwesome”

The purpose of the guidelines issued is to provide the necessary mitigations to enable the return of competitive rafting as part of the easing of social restrictions.

These mitigations allow for rafting to take place whilst maintaining appropriate compliance with social distancing and permitted group sizes.

These guidelines should be used in conjunction with venue specific risk assessments and local government / health authority advice.

The guidance also provides measures that should be taken by rafters, clubs, officials, volunteers, coaches, and spectators before, during and after all rafting activity.

Areas of focus for competitive rafting prior, during and after activity include:

Prior to all rafting activity

  •  All participants (rafters, coaches and officials) should share their contact details with the event organiser prior to training / events to allow NHS Test and Trace to contact all participants if an individual becomes ill with COVID-19.
  • All participants should check for symptoms of COVID-19. In line with current UK Government Guidance, if an individual is symptomatic and/or living in a household with a possible COVID-19 infection they should remain at home and follow UK Government guidance.
  • Any participants who have been asked to isolate by NHS Test and Trace because they are a contact of a known COVID-19 case, must not physically attend or otherwise come into contact with any persons of the training /event.
  • Participants should follow UK Government guidance on shielding and protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable from COVID-19 if it applies to them.
  • Personal hygiene measures should be carried out at home before and after activity.
  • Participants should bring their own hand sanitiser and maintain strict and frequent hygiene measures whenever possible.
  • Participants should follow UK Government guidance on best practice for travel, including minimising the use of public transport and limiting car sharing.
  • Organisers should make all participants aware of expected social distancing and hygiene measures during training and racing and whilst on site.
  • Teams should strictly limit the time spent congregating at a venue before activity begins.
  • Meet-up times should reflect this. Participants should arrive changed and ready to participate if possible.
  • Teams, officials and spectators should all have dedicated areas and outside of activity should maintain social distancing guidelines.

 During all rafting activity

 Participants should enter the site and prepare their personal equipment whilst maintaining social distancing.

  • Where possible rafters should limit sharing of equipment. If they do, they must practice strict hygiene before and after use and the equipment must be cleaned before use by a nominated/dedicated person/s.
  • All participants should sanitise their hands prior to the start of the activity.
  • Hand sanitiser should be used at all breaks in activity and prior to consuming any food or drinks.
  • Participants should refrain from spitting or rinsing out their mouths.
  • Injuries during rafting should still be treated as participant wellbeing is utmost. The best way to protect yourself and others is through rigorous cleaning, personal hygiene and regular hand hygiene.
  • Officials should observe the guidance in the same way as participants are required to.
  • Officials must remain socially distanced from participants where possible before, during and after rafting.
  • Individuals should bring their own food and drink. Water bottles or other refreshment containers should not be shared.
  • Participant water bottles should be individually labelled to avoid cross contamination.
  • Participants and coaches should refrain from shouting instructions to members of their team.
  • Any spectators must be restricted to discrete six-person gathering limits and spread out, in line with wider government guidance, ensuring space for officials and coaches.

 After all activity

  • All participants should sanitise their hands and equipment after the completion of activity.
  • Participants should leave whilst maintaining social distancing.
  • One team representative/volunteer should be responsible for collecting and disinfecting any shared equipment.
  • Regular cleaning of equipment should take place, particularly between one group finishing, and the next group starting.
  • Organisers should encourage all participants to report any infection of their household to
  • the NHS Test and Trace system following the activity to limit the spread of the virus.


The full guidelines are available in the British Canoeing: Return to Team Activities – Rafting - PDF

The guidelines should be read in conjunction with the latest UK Government guidance and British Canoeing’s guidance for Paddlesport Clubs, Centres and Hire Providers and Return to events