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from Yachting New Zealand www.yachtingnz.org.nz

It was exciting to learn earlier today that all yachting and boating activity is allowed under alert level 2. (NEW ZEALAND)

It has been a challenging time over the last few weeks, on so many different levels, and that's why it's really important we don't spoil the good work we've all done in this country to get Covid-19 under control.

I'm really hopeful we will move to level 2 soon, so it's a really good time as both an individual and club to prepare for this change. There are a number of things you will need to consider to operate safely and each club should implement a health and safety plan specific to the current situation.

There's plenty of information on the Covid-19 website, as well as Worksafe New Zealand that can help you with this, and Sport New Zealand go into good detail around what is allowed under the various alert levels.

Some of the most important things to consider are:

  • You should meet social distancing requirements of 1m if you know the person and 2m if you don't. If in doubt, spread out.
  • Maintaining good hygiene practices, like regular washing and drying of hands, good cough/sneeze etiquette and avoiding touching your face
  • Creating a good system for contact tracing for everyone who visits the club, which includes having one person responsible for holding this information
  • Disinfecting surfaces before and after use, including boats, and having regular cleaning procedures for objects used regularly like door handles 
  • Having good signage in and around your club that outlines key messages, and indicating how often bathroom facilities have been cleaned and how many people are allowed in a bathroom at any one time. If you have a boat ramp, everyone needs to understand their responsibilities and good health and safety plans need to be in place and visible
  • Implementing several soap/sanitiser stations around your premises (eg entrance, boat park, changing rooms, food and water distributions stations and all gathering rooms and stations) and encouraging members to bring their own to keep costs down
  • Appropriate number of waste bins with lids for discarded tissues
  • Washing shared equipment, like life jackets, after every use
  • Careful transfer of food and water during training and racing to avoid cross-contamination
  • Encouraging people who display flu-like symptoms to self-isolate
  • Being respectful of vulnerable people with pre-existing conditions, like heart and respiratory conditions, who need additional care

As you can see, there's a lot to think about so it's really important clubs don't rush to open their doors. You need to have these measures in place before that happens rather than rushing to operate again and then playing catchup.

Clubs who offer food and beverages will be able to operate again and functions will be able to be held but will need to follow food safety guidelines as well as restrictions on group sizes.

We've put together a guide which you and your club might look to use to help you prepare for a return to activity. This will be updated regularly as more information comes to hand.

I'm sure you have plenty of questions and I've tried to answer what I think some of the most common might be in the Q&A section below. I'll also be hosting another Zoom session on Monday at 5pm which one representative from each club and class association is welcome to join. Please register your interest here and submit any questions you might have.

We'll also be joined by Aon New Zealand account manager Sam Gunn at this Zoom meeting on Monday because we are aware that it's time for clubs to renew insurance premiums. Our understanding is that, unless your club has lodged a major claim, premiums will stay at the same level for the upcoming year. The club resilience fund might be something clubs could use to help meet their insurance costs.

I know how much I've missed getting out on the water lately but, please, make sure your club is ready before opening your doors again.

Kia kaha
David Abercrombie
Yachting New Zealand chief executive

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