1. Get the candidates to bring someone from their social bubble
This enables the rescues to be carried out, which would otherwise be impossible during social distancing.
It’s also a great opportunity to rethink the rescues that would work with Government guidelines. We had fusions and a speeder on the course and it was interesting how distancing can be created with longer boats. Obvious you would think, but I was dubious how stable the extended raft would be to put someone back in their craft, when being used by less experienced people.
This also means there is a genuine mixed craft group ready, removing the need to find ‘paddlesports guinea pigs'! This reduced the number of households involved and the environmental impact, as people travelled in pairs. I’ll be making this standard practice in the future, Covid restrictions or not!
2. Send the Covid-19 Risk Assessment ahead of the course
This can then be easily referred to at the start or throughout the course, as necessary.
3. Ensuring the candidates follow social distancing
There are 2 types of people - those who follow the Government guidelines and those who do not. The first ones are easy and the latter need regular reminding. My brief at the start of the second day of the Paddlesport Leader was 'Let’s make sure we respect everyone’s standpoint on Covid-19 but as professional Leaders or Coaches, it is our duty to follow Government guidelines and set the right example, no matter our standpoint'.
4. Swapping of craft
Any swapping of craft was started or finished immediately with hand sanitising and cleaning of the craft with disinfectant spray. My top tip would be to get a big hand cleaner dispenser to leave bank-side for folk to use, as I relied on each person having their own which they kept in their BA. This would speed things up a lot, rather than folk undoing their BA, getting the sanitiser out, applying it, putting it back in and then zipping back up.
5. Have a set of equipment for each pair
Although it’s a big ask, having a set of equipment for use by each pair worked really well. A set of boats, throwlines, tapes, karabiners, etc. I am lucky in having that facility at Montford Bridge. Otherwise I intend to have a disinfectant spray per pair in the future as well. I’m also going to get some 'mine tape' to make areas that each set of equipment is returned to and number equipment to avoid it being mixed up.
6. Cleaning your equipment
All the throwlines and tapes used for the course are currently outside drying and will be left there for 72 hours before being used again. Other hard equipment has already been sanitised.
7. Use of the British Canoeing videos on the joining instructions sped things up!
8. Follow up reminders
Don’t forget to send an email out to all course participants reminding them of the need to contact you, should they display symptoms or be diagnosed with Covid-19 within the next 2 weeks, so that you can contact the rest of the group.
Click here to read the latest British Canoeing Covid-19 guidance. If you would like further advice about running courses within the current Government Guidelines, please contact your National Association.