With our (hopefully) impending move to Level 2, it looks like our clubs will be able to consider re-opening and resuming club paddling activities. However, it is important to review all relevant rules, information and guidance carefully, and for each club to create a health and safety plan that is suitable to their specific environment and needs. Below we’ve put together some information for both individual paddlers and clubs to consider when we transition to Level 2.
Level 2 is, for paddlers, almost a return to normal. It will now be acceptable to meet your mates and paddle in groups, and it will also be possible to travel to another region. Surfski paddlers will be able to do downwinds without the constraint of staying close to shore!
Whilst this is likely to be an exciting proposition, please do consider being a bit more risk-averse than normal when considering what conditions you are capable of paddling in. Emergency services will be working, but it’s best not to have to call on them. We encourage all paddlers to take appropriate safety precautions such as:
- Always paddle with a buddy if possible;
- If you go to the water alone, always tell someone where you’re going and what time you plan to return;
- Take a phone, personal flotation device and, where relevant, other safety equipment such as a flare, EPIRB and whistle. Maritime NZ recommends 2 forms of communication at all times, and a lifejacket is a legal requirement at all times for paddlers whose boats are less than 6m long;
- If you are paddling a kayak, an air bag or other floatation device in your boat is a good idea.
Some of the most important things to consider are:
- Everyone should meet social distancing requirements of 1m if you know the person and 2m if you don’t. If in doubt, spread out.
- Team boat paddling is possible, as is coaching, but it’s important to consider all of the other rules and guidelines, and to be extra careful to minimise physical contact or droplet transfer eg coughing, sneezing etc;
- Good hygiene practices are still important, including:
- regular washing and drying of hands, good cough/sneeze etiquette and avoiding touching your face;
- Disinfecting surfaces before and after use, including boats, and having regular cleaning procedures for objects used regularly like door handles;
- 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;
- Washing shared equipment, like life jackets, after every use;
- Careful transfer of food and water during training and racing to avoid cross-contamination;
- Appropriate number of waste bins with lids for discarded tissues
- It is critical to have a good system of contact tracing for everyone who visits the club, which includes having one person responsible for holding this information
- People who display flu-like symptoms (or whose close contacts are unwell) must self-isolate.
It is important to have good signage in and around clubs 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 jetty, everyone needs to understand their responsibilities and good health and safety plans need to be in place and visible
As well as the above measures, please be respectful of vulnerable people such as the elderly or those with pre-existing conditions, like heart and respiratory conditions, who need additional care. In practice, this may mean that these people are discouraged from coming to the club at Level 2, or that club members are extra conscious of maintaining physical distance to avoid any risk of transmitting infection.