Coronavirus and boating: RYA calls on government to reopen marinas

The Royal Yachting Association has called on government ministers to issue guidance on how and when marinas could reopen

Limited and controlled access to marinas should be considered to allow boat owners to undertake essential maintenance and security checks, the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) has claimed today.

Its appeal to the government for updated advice on coronavirus and boating comes as the UK enters its sixth week under lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are acutely aware that our members have valid concerns about the inability to undertake security and essential maintenance checks,” the RYA statement begins.

“The RYA believes that visiting marinas and spending time working on a boat can be readily achieved within the parameters of the existing core Government advice regarding hygiene and social distancing.”

Talks to reopen marinas have been ongoing for a matter of weeks, the RYA adds, and the Government has yet to change its stance.

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Marina operators are currently tasked with taking care of boats, but many insurance policies require regular visits from the owners to check for critical issues such as water ingress.

The RYA believes that such checks could be carried out without breaching social distancing guidelines, thus reducing the risk of insurance policies being invalidated.

“Marina staff obviously cannot undertake the sort of essential maintenance that responsible owners would do,” said RYA chief executive Sarah Treseder.

“The significant number of approaches that the RYA has received from members demonstrates that this is a critical issue for boat owners. We believe there are measures that could be permitted immediately within the existing Government guidance to allow access for essential maintenance.”

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“The RYA fully supports the measures that the Government has put in place to tackle the spread of the virus and we understand the motivation of marina operators to support Government action and safeguard their staff and customers,” she added.

“We will engage with them to work collaboratively to deliver a solution for boat owner access within the parameters of existing Government guidance on hygiene and social distancing.”

Boat owners concerned about their vessel at this time are encouraged to visit the RYA Coronavirus hub for the latest information.

Meanwhile, the RYA has started developing its Return to Boating strategy to make the case that boating should be one of the first leisure activities to resume as lockdown measures ease.


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