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COVID-19: Reopening of the marine industry in England - 02/03/2021

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on Monday 22 February outlining the roadmap of when restrictions are likely to be eased across England, British Marine met with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to clarify the guidance specific to the leisure marine industry. Representatives from the Department for Transport, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, navigation authorities, and user groups from across the sector also took part in the meeting. Members can read and download the following file which sets out which forms of activity can resume and when. 

British Marine is delighted that from 8 March watersports, including the use of privately-owned craft and self-drive day hire boats for single households, can go ahead in England (subject to local navigation and harbour authority guidance). This is provided the boats are 'open air'. Furthermore, it has been concluded that marinas can open from 8 March to allow recreational boating to take place and boat brokerage can open in line with non-essential retail from 12 April.

Following the publication of the roadmap and matrix, DEFRA have provided this further clarification on return to boating:

On boat maintenance

Until 29th March, youmay leave home to secure your second home, caravan or boat in order to avoid it posing a risk of harm/injury to yourself or others.You should not stay longer than for the length of time required to undertake the necessary work. Boat Safety Scheme (BSS) examiners can access boats in the course of professional activity to conduct safety examinations where these are necessary to renew or obtain a BSS certificate, akin to an MOT for a road vehicle. From 29th March, you may travel to your boat for general maintenance. However, you should minimise travel outside of your local areas and – until Step 2 – should not stay overnight away from home.

On social distancing

For now, we are asking you to stay 2m away from anyone you don’t live with (unless they are your support bubble, if eligible). For day boat hire it would be up to each individual business to ensure that their boat hire offering is in line with COVID-secure guidelines, including in relation to social distancing rules and legal gathering limits.

At this early stage in the vaccination programme, we do not have sufficient data to know how well vaccines block transmission. As soon as we learn more about vaccine efficacy, including its effect on transmission and no later than Step 3, we will review social distancing guidance for friends and family. Ahead of Step 4, we will also complete a review of other long-term measures that have been used to reduce transmission (e.g. 1m+, face coverings, working from home), with a view to informing when and under what circumstances these measures can be lifted.

On accessing indoor facilities on boats during recreational use with one’s household in the period to 29 March

When using a boat for outdoor recreation alone or with your household or support bubble from 8th March, you must not go inside except to access a toilet or for safety reasons or navigation.