Guidelines published June 2020


In order to permit the controlled and safe return to sailing, BBC are implementing guidelines and procedures to facilitate the safe and gradual return to sailing. We would ask that ALL members planning to visit the club, read these guidelines carefully before considering their decision to sail. *Please note safety boat cover will not be available for these initial stages.

STEP 1 – Guidelines for Observing COVID-19 Restrictions

Current Situation

  • Sailing activities are permitted during which social distancing can be maintained for individuals who do not share a household contact and where there is no shared contact with hard surfaces
  • Outdoor gatherings of up to six people not from the same household will be allowed but everyone must adhere to social distancing and public health guidelines.
  • Local Councils (MUDC Ballyronan Marina) will be authorised to act as an enforcement body with regards the safe operation of the Marina – so Council instruction must be adhered to AT ALL TIMES
  • The NI Executive is also encouraging people to ‘stay local’.

Return to Boating

We will, as a boating community, encourage a considerate and conservative approach to our sailing activities

  • Be considerate: be mindful of the potential impact that you could have on other water users and do not place unnecessary extra strain on Lough Neagh rescue and the emergency services.
  • Be conservative: help to minimise risk by taking an extra conservative approach to your boating.

Before Visiting

Are you fit to visit? Please do not attend Ballyronan Boat Club if you, or anyone in your household, are feeling unwell or experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19. Before travelling: Please check the Club website and Facebook for the latest information; if changes in Government guidelines require activities to be restricted again, this information will be communicated by these methods.

STEP 2 – Guidelines for Observing BBC Restrictions

Use of Club and Marina Facilities

The following guidelines are to be observed by ALL club members considering boating activities.

  • Groups actively sailing should not exceed 6 boats (this will be reviewed as updates are provided)
  • The meeting areas remains closed and should not be used
  • Do not travel or sail with someone outside your household
  • Individuals should sail well within their capabilities. Higher risk water-based activities are discouraged as they may lead to increased pressure on emergency services
  • Personal buoyancy aids should not be shared
  • Club buoyancy aids will not be provided for sharing
  • Wetsuits will not be provided by the Club
  • Shared contact with equipment is not permitted
  • Club equipment and surfaces should be disinfected after each session (including boats, storage facilities etc.)
  • The meeting areas and changing rooms will remain closed, please arrive ready to sail and note toilet facilities will not be available
  • At all times please show consideration for others by respecting the social distancing requirement of 2 metres
  • Those coming to the Club may engage in cruiser sailing, single-handed sailing or double-handed sailing but only with members of your own household
  • Youth sailing – as safety cover will not be available at this time we would recommend that Youth Sailors request permission to sail club boats. Access will be granted to those who have demonstrated a level of competence in previous sessions. We will require a parent or adult family member to remain within the vicinity of the club whilst on the water
  • Ensure hands are thoroughly washed and bring hand sanitiser for personal use
  • The rigging of boats should take place outside the Boat Park to facilitate social distancing
  • Members may also visit the Jetties and Boat Park to carry out maintenance work on their boats
  • Club Boats may only be used by those who have previous experience and coaching during previous sailing sessions

If you suspect any equipment has been exposed to the virus, clean thoroughly and immediately advise James Wilson on club communication channels. This equipment must not be used for a period of 72 hours. Please bring your own drinks with you, especially if the weather is warm and do not share water bottles or food. Please do not spend any longer on site than is necessary. Please give careful consideration to prevailing conditions and the condition of your equipment, when taking the decision to go afloat.

STEP 3 – Guidance for On-the-Water Activities

On the Water Guidelines

The following advice is recommended as we start on our return to water programme:

Subject to change

  • If possible, arrange to go out with another similar boat and watch out for each other and for other boats afloat.
  • Check the weather forecast.
  • Avoid sailing in a dying wind – you may have to paddle back.
  • Double-check your boat’s buoyancy, equipment, rigging and fixings.
  • Dress appropriately for the conditions – it is easier to take off a layer than put it on.
  • Ensure you are wearing a personal buoyancy aid or lifejacket when afloat.
  • Consider wearing head protection.
  • Carry a mobile phone in a waterproof bag/container or a VHF radio. Tell your contact ashore that you are going out on the water and when you should be expected back.
  • Dinghies that cannot be self-propelled should carry a paddle for self-rescue.
  • Make sure you have long painters, righting lines and masthead floats if necessary.
  • Realistically (and honestly) assess your ability, your crew and your boat’s capability to sail in the conditions. Sail well within your comfort zone and don’t take unnecessary risks.
  • Don’t go out or return to shore if you have any doubts!
  • Have a plan B for the unexpected.
  • If you capsize and are unable to right the boat, always remain with the boat. Never try to swim to shore.
  • Contact someone ashore if you or another sailor get into difficulties. Provide them with information as to your status and location, and, if available an alternative means of contact.
  • Be vigilant of your surroundings, particularly for other vessels/craft and obstacles.
  • Don’t stay out alone after your sailing partner/s come in.