A return to paddling!

A return to paddling

Canal & River Trust and British Canoeing guidance has changed allowing a managed return to paddling despite the canal navigation remaining closed. This note sets out how we intend to resume some responsible paddling activity locally on the Kennet & Avon.

Following UK Government guidance is essential. For the avoidance of doubt, we may now meet or exercise outdoors with members of our household and one other person from a different household whilst observing social distance guidelines (remain 2 metres apart).

All members should carefully read British Canoeing’s guidance to members and clubs. This guidance is complimentary.

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We cannot yet resume organised group sessions or any other form of club activity.

Members can:

 Paddle on the canal alone, or with others from the same household, or with no more than one other person from outside of the household.
 Take part in 1:1 coaching (details to follow)
 Paddle using their own equipment
 Access the private boat store
 Take full responsibility for their personal hygiene
 Paddle elsewhere on the canal should they chose to do so, avoiding long journeys and paddling alone in isolated rural areas.
 Hold current BC membership. This includes your licence to paddle on the K&A.

Members must not:

 Use any of the club’s facilities including changing rooms, club house, the paddle store, club boat store, or any club owned equipment because it is impossible to guarantee the standard of cleanliness required to prevent the spread of COVID-19 infection.
 Share any equipment.
 Bring cars to the club (this is to reduce our visible activity and avoid alarming local residents)
 Use Wansbrough’s Solicitors car park at any time until we confirm we can do so.
 Assume that any club facilities including gates, locks and the launching area is clean or safe to touch without sensible precautions.

In addition, we strongly recommend you should:

 Remain local and in familiar waters. We suggest between Lower Wharf and the Horton swingbridge. Please do not paddle west of the lock near the club.
 Stay at least 2 metres from moored narrow boats. This should be easy as movement is restricted.
 Not turn anywhere near moored narrowboats (i.e. just past the 2-mile bridge). Many liveaboards have chosen to self-isolate and may not agree with our return to paddling.
 Wear a PFD/buoyancy aid if paddling alone. It makes sense from a safety perspective and will help reduce adverse publicity. The public doesn’t know, or care, about your racing division!

We will resume a limited junior 1:1 coaching programme, of two 2-hour sessions each week. Timings and details will be published. Please stay away from the club at these times.

Coaching guidelines remain in place. No 1:1 coaching of juniors or vulnerable adults is to take place unless the paddler has an adult household member present throughout the session.
You must take responsibility for your own welfare and hygiene. Change before you get to the club and REMAIN TWO METRES APART. We will provide basic hygiene facilities at the club gate so you can clean hands before and after opening gates and locks. The toilets and changing rooms are not available due to current restrictions

The club site is closed most of this week to complete essential facilities maintenance to prepare the site to re-open and allow us time to communicate with local people. We will re-open for paddling from 9am on Friday 15th May 2020. Security codes will be changed on Wednesday evening and communicated to members. Individual visits to the Club are permitted on Wednesday 13th May 2020 for the following reasons:

  1. To collect your individual boat and remove it if you wish to keep the boat away from the club and/or paddle elsewhere before Friday.
  2. If you don’t intend to re-join as a member or have chosen not to pay for boat storage for the 2020/21 membership year.

We will communicate separately about issues related to 2020/21 membership and boat storage. As in previous years our facilities are only available to members. We trust club members and parents to read the relevant UK Government and BC guidelines, adopt the simple rules we have agreed and make common-sense decisions about the right thing to do to minimise the risk of infection or injury. Enjoy your return to paddling. This decision will be reviewed by the Committee in the light of further government guidance.

Mark Bouch
Chair DCC
Tuesday 13th May 2020


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