Updated May 15 2020
Yacht clubs can return to safe activity under alert level 2 following advice received from Sport New Zealand this morning.
Yachting New Zealand have been seeking clarification from Sport New Zealand, particularly after confusion surfaced around the 10-person gathering limit and how this applied to community sport.
We are now satisfied our original interpretation of the guidelines stands, as long as clubs have a detailed health and safety plan in place and meet the recommended guidelines around social distancing, hygiene and contact tracing.
This means both dinghy sailing with more than 10 boats on a start line and keelboat racing with crews of no more than 10 can be done safely. We are hopeful these numbers will be increased when alert level 2 is reviewed on May 25.
Sport New Zealand have been working very hard with us to enable clubs to get back on the water safely and in a timely manner. They have answered a handful of questions we put to them earlier in the week and their responses, together with a recently-released sector update, included the following:
“Sport and recreation activities can take place where more than 10 people are present if all participants maintain a 2m physical distance at all times and all other public health and safety requirements are in place.
“Each event or activity should create a health and safety plan. Groups that come into contact should be limited to 10 but there can be multiple groups of 10 spaced out across an open space. If individuals are not in contact or clustered in boat teams, there can be more than 10 as long as they are physically distanced.
“Contact tracing is important to know which groups / teams were together. If there are larger numbers involved in events, either being grouped in 10s or physically spaced, remember to avoid people clustering in shared spaces, around clubrooms, toilets etc. Hygiene and sanitation must be in place and all other public hygiene rules [followed].”
We also received this response around keelboat sailing and racing:
“A health and safety plan should be created to cover this. If boat crews are 10 or under this should meet the guidelines. Groups cannot come with 2m to be safe. The bigger concern is that crews do not cluster at entry / exit points or shared facilities so this would need to be carefully managed.”
Yachting New Zealand have also updated the recommendations to clubs and things they should consider to ensure safe operation.
One of the main areas to consider is the care taken at communal points. For our sport, considerations could include spacing out rigging areas, parents and coaches assisting only sailors who need help rigging, avoiding gathering at entry and exit points including carparks and marina gates and staggering launching and retrieval so no more than 10 sailors are doing this at one time.
Our race management sub-committee has also put together some guidance clubs could adopt for racing. These can be used in any notice of race or sailing instructions.
Clubs should assess what they need to do to reopen safely and shouldn’t rush to recommence activity until they are ready.
We don’t want to return to level 3, or worse, and undo all the good work New Zealanders have done so we need to continue to do our bit to make sure we look after our friends and whanau.
Be sensible. Be safe.
Yachting New Zealand chief executive
Updated May 14, 2020
Yachting New Zealand are seeking clarification from Sport New Zealand as yacht clubs look to make a safe return to activity under alert level 2.
There has been considerable confusion around the 10-person gathering limit announced on Monday and how this applied to community sport.
Sport NZ moved to clarify the situation last night, confirming “that the 10-person gathering limits applies to all community sport”. But many in the yachting community, myself included, were still left with plenty of questions.
We believe that both dinghy and keelboat sailing and racing meets the intent of the government guidelines. Further to that, we believe the sport can be done safely even if more than 10 dinghies or multiple keelboats are on the start line due to the fact boats rarely come within 3m-4m of each other and staggered launching and retrieval can be easily achieved.
We are currently seeking clarification from Sport NZ and hope to have some answers in the next 24 hours. We will share this information with you as soon as it comes to hand but, in the meantime, respectfully ask for your patience.
Clubs should assess what they need to do to reopen safely and shouldn’t rush to recommence activity until they are ready. There isn’t a one-sized-fits-all answer to how this should be done because each club has a different set of circumstances and environment they operate in.
A comprehensive contact tracing system will be essential and, unfortunately, the Yachting New Zealand app won’t be able to be used as a tool in doing this. We had hoped it could be reconfigured to meet the needs of yacht clubs but have discovered this can’t be done at this time.
Clubs might consider using id.me or ripple. Alternatively, paper records can be kept but clubs will need to assign someone whose responsibility it will be to oversee this process, keep them in a secure place and be available at all times should the Ministry of Health require information.
If you need help with how to create an effective contact tracing system via Google Forms and QR codes, then see these two videos. Regional support officer Ian Darby would also be happy to help you with this.
- How to create a online form (I used Google Forms but you could use any online form maker)
- How to create a QR code
I will be in touch as soon as I have an update.
Updated: May 7, 2020
It was exciting to learn earlier today that all yachting and boating activity is allowed under alert level 2.
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. You could encourage sailors to wear gloves when hosing down equipment
- 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.
Some of these things might cost a little more but that's where the Government's club resilience funding package, which offers up to $1000 to each club, could come in handy.
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 Worksafe guidelines.
We've also put together a guide which you and your club might look to use to help you prepare for a return to activity.
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.
Yachting New Zealand chief executive