Risk assessment and plan for return to sailing at PLSC – May 2020


The Covid-19 pandemic has, till now, halted all sailing and powerboat activities at the club, and whilst the government and RYA guidelines are still to maintain the current social distancing, there is an acceptance that some aspects can now be relaxed, and that sailing provides a good means to achieve a healthy lifestyle and should be encouraged. PLSC, in common with other sailing clubs across England, has analysed how we can gradually recommence sailing and powerboat activities at the club, whilst continuing to protect members and the public from spread of infection.

The steps we are taking are as follows:

  1. Produce a supplement to the club’s existing risk assessment to address the specific risks associated with opening the club to activities in the current climate
  2. Review the risk assessment in committee, against the Government and RYA guidelines currently in force (this was completed today, May 16th)
  3. Identify those activities likely to be possible now and over time, depending on risk criteria and possibly mitigation
  4. Set out those activities that definitely can happen now and those that definitely can’t.
  5. Develop a plan for returning to activities.
  6. Contact members outlining what is and is not allowed and specific rules that must be adhered to now, in order to use the club and participate in activities. All members should receive an email today, May 16th
  7. Provide a means to update the plan and rules going forward as things change, notably Government advice and RYA guidelines.

Risk assessment





Potential exposure to virus

Person with virus or previous contact enters site

Specify that anyone with suspected symptoms or contact to stay away from the club

Follow current advice regarding self-isolation, reporting and contact tracing

From member’s equipment

Members to use only their own equipment

Members to ensure their equipment is clean and taken home after use

From club equipment

No club equipment in use (safety boats, club boats)

Container keys not made available to members

Dangers on water

Gear failure

Gear failure to be minimised by checks before sailing

Members to bring their own tools and spares

Sailor in trouble during sailing

Particular attention to wearing suitable clothing, including buoyancy aid.

Buddy system for emergencies

Wind strength limits imposed

Members to come to club fully prepared to sail in the expected conditions

Members to take sensible decisions about their own ability and limitations.

Injury (avoiding increased pressure on emergency services)

Members to bring own first aid kits.

Members to administer minor first aid themselves.
Contact emergency services if required

Serious injury

Covered by existing EAP

Covered by existing EAP

Phased plan for return to sailing

Based on government and RYA advice, a phased approach to the return to sailing will be adopted, following the following definitions of the phases. All of this is subject to regular review and update in line with government and RYA notices. Changes to this plan to be reviewed by the committee prior to publication to members.

Phase 0


No access to the water

Members allowed to the club only to check on boats following reports of damage etc.

No access to clubhouse, containers, start box, etc.

Phase 1

(Commencing Sunday 17 May)

Informal sailing (cruising), no official racing

No access to clubhouse or startbox

No safety cover – defined responsibilities as a condition of sailing, see below

Social distancing in force at all times, including on the water

Phase 2

(Expected late summer 2020, TBD)

Racing on a regular basis

Safety cover probably not available

Clubhouse remains closed

Phase 3


RYA training centre operating a limited schedule with smaller group sizes

Phase 4


Normal club operating arrangements

Normal RTC course schedule in operation

Current rules regarding sailing during phase 1

In order to sail during phase 1, the following strict rules must be adhered to. Anyone attending the club and not observing these rules will be asked to leave. Anyone with suspected symptoms of Covid-19 must not attend the club.

  1. Only club members are allowed on site, i.e.:
    No discretionary access to past course participants
    No guests of members allowed on site
    No camping/caravan/social groups
  2. The clubhouse will not be open, so there is no access to changing rooms or toilets. Members should come dressed to sail or change in vehicles and shower at home.
  3. All sailors must have a first aid kit with them (e.g. in vehicle) to deal with minor injuries.
  4. All sailors must rig, launch, recover and pack away their own boats unaided, whilst maintaining social distance (2m)
  5. No club clothing, including buoyancy aids, available for use
  6. No sailing by anyone in wind strengths above 15kts (~force 4)
    Less experienced sailors not to sail in wind strengths above 10kts (~force 3)
  7. All sailors must take full responsibility for their own safety
    Suitable clothing to be worn at all times, including a well-fitting buoyancy aid
    Boats to be fully checked for seaworthiness prior to sailing
    Members should ensure they have tools and spares to effect repairs
  8. In an emergency, a buddy system will be in operation. Each sailor to nominate another sailor to stand by, but assistance only to be provided to anyone if in genuine danger.
  9. Members may sail in their own boats
    Members may use a club boat by prior agreement only (via RTC Principal) and if this is done, then that nominated boat may not be used by another member until at least Phase 3 above. Member to take full responsibility for rig, sails, foils etc.
  10. Double handers may only be sailed by members of the same household

Specific prohibited activities in Phase 1

  1. Barbecues
  2. Picnics
  3. Gatherings on the bank
  4. Entering the clubhouse, startbox or containers

The committee reserves the right to amend the rules at any time based on identified risk. A return to phase 0 should not be ruled out.

Further details of phases 2-4 to follow when deemed appropriate.

We're having our annual open day this weekend, Saturday 12th May, as part of the RYA's Push the Boat Out initiative. If you are new to sailing, come and have a go. Refreshments available all day, including a barbecue. Chat to our members and the instructors who teach on our courses. Learn about what the club does and all our courses. We look forward to seeing you for some fun on the water. No age limits, no need to book, just come along on the day!