Further to my update number 5 issued yesterday, the Government has still not yet issued any specific guidance on leisure marine activities and a number of important issues surrounding the potential reopening of marinas, slipways, pontoons etc. and access to leisure vessels still require urgent clarification by Government.
Although we expect that specific Government advice will confirm that certain sailing activities and water sports will be able to start shortly, marine leisure facilities around the country will need to be assessed and prepared to accommodate social distancing and hygiene measures.
The British Ports Association (“BPA”) and UK Harbour Master’s Association (“UKHMA”) have been in daily contact with relevant Government departments and are assured that further guidance is expected to be released shortly. The more general Transport Sector guidance released today, makes it clear that organisations are expected to consider it in full and translate its principles and examples into specific actions.
To comply with their legal Health and Safety obligations organisations also need to ensure that risk assessments (which take account of relevant guidance) have been carried out and suitable policies and procedures put in place. To do this properly and safely takes time. As such a short period of time is therefore needed, once the more specific guidance is released to prepare to ensure safety for users, staff and also the public. This also means that there are likely to be certain measures we all need to follow that could alter what leisure users can do.
The BPA and UKHMA therefore recommend that Lymington Harbour consider waiting for the more specific guidance to be issued before easing the current restrictions. The intervening period can be used to consider the newly released Transport Sector guidance and to prepare the relevant policies and procedures. These can then be adapted following the release of the more specific guidance.
In the meantime for the safety of everyone, we would ask that recreational marine leisure users remain patient and understanding as we continue to cooperate and work closely with Government. We will be in touch again shortly once we have a further update.
Harbour Master & Chief Executive