Covid update to paddlers

Firstly, thank you all for your commitment to staying off the water over the last few weeks, following the issue of government guidelines on 3 April prohibiting watersports at Alert Level 4. It appears that New Zealand is tracking well towards containing (and hopefully eliminating) Covid-19, and we are all a part of that project.

Now that we are coming up to four weeks at Level 4, there is a sense of light at the end of the tunnel and Kiwis are starting to prepare for a move to Level 3 from 11.59pm on Monday April 27. The Government has released guidance on exercise at Level 3. The good news is that paddling will be allowed, provided we paddle alone, or with the person/people with whom you are isolating. Short trips by car to exercise will also be allowed, provided we don’t travel too far from home.

If you do paddle at Level 3, you must keep your boat at home and transport it to and from the water, rather than leaving it at a public facility – accessing your club storage would require you to touch surfaces such as door handles, which risks exposing yourself or others to infection.

We also note that training alone, whilst ensuring that you won’t spread Covid-19, presents other safety challenges – ordinarily it isn’t recommended that people practice watersports alone. We recommend usual good safety practice during this time:

•If you are isolated with another person, go paddling with them, or take them to the beach/lake/river so they can keep an eye on you!

•Stay close to shore – we recommend that you don’t go any further than you can comfortably swim, taking into account current, wind, temperature and the clothes you are wearing;

• 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. If you are paddling a kayak, an air bag or other flotation device in your boat is a good idea;

• Be even more cautious than normal when assessing conditions – our emergency services will be stretched during this time and we are also trying to minimise contact with them, so don’t go out if there’s even a remote chance you might need to get rescued;

Finally, please do remember that we are still at Level 4 until Monday April 27 at 11.59pm. Whilst we are all feeling excited about a return to some normality, it is important that we continue to honour this mission we have embarked on as New Zealanders. If we can do a great job now there is a much better chance that we can ensure we don’t need further extended periods of lockdown in the future.

Tom Ashley,  CRNZ CEO