CANI Strongly Recommends for All Paddlesport Activity to Cease on Coastal Irish Water, 20th April 2020

Updated 27th April 2020

Please Note: Waterways Ireland closed their waterways for navigational and recreational purposes on 30th March 2020 and for further information please click hereU

In light of the government’s Stay at Home measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 and more recent requests from several organisations to do everything we can to reduce the burden on the emergency services, CANI strongly recommends that all paddlesport activity on coastal Northern Irish waters cease until further notice.

CANI recognise that some members will feel confident that they could paddle without impacting on the emergency services nevertheless we urge everyone to refrain from going out paddling at this time. The RNLI statement on 9th April 2020 here and the HM Coastguard blog here demonstrate the types of pressures that organisations are under and the difficulties they face trying to maintain social distancing whilst carrying out their work.

Members of the public have been calling the emergency services after seeing people paddling, even when there was no need for them to be alerted. This has been placing an unnecessary burden on the emergency services and it risks people’s health through potentially exposing emergency personnel to COVID-19. It also reduces the ability of the emergency services to respond to future incidents, through the need for staff to self-isolate.

CANI recognise that these are challenging times for us all and our first priority is the safety and health of everyone, as we do our level best to stop the spread of the virus. We really appreciate the level of creativity and innovation shown by many within our community to keep people connected, virtually, at this time. We are confident that we will emerge from this an even stronger community of paddlers.

For the latest Government “Stay at Home” Guidance see here

See statement from Edwin Poots on 21st April 2020 on pedestrian access reopening to forest parks and car parks remaining closed here

Personal and Independent PaddlingUpdated 27th April 2020

For personal and independent paddling this should only be considered as an exception – as a form of exercise – if the activity is in line with all government advice and measures and;

  • A paddler lives within a close proximity to a river or waterway; 
  • Travel a short distance to a safe place to exercise in line with guidance on BBC report dated 25th April 2020 here
  • The activity is once a day and is for a short period of time;
  • Activity is conducted alone or with household members, not in groups, with paddlers following social distancing measures and being two metres apart;
  • Consideration given to the weather and water conditions and that both are well within your capabilities;
  • That a personal safety framework is put in place whilst on the water;
  • Tell someone where you are going and how long for – as well as letting them know when you’re off the water; and
  • Only experienced and competent paddlers should be on the water independently.

With all government guidance pointing towards a period during which the nation is being urged to act responsibly to fight the spread of Coronavirus, and the unprecedented burden currently on our emergency and public services, CANI believe this is the most responsible, and only, course of action we can take at this moment.

CANI fully appreciate the effect that this recommendation will have on the paddlesport community, particularly for clubs, centres, coaches, providers and retailers whose businesses will be greatly affected by the further measures introduced by the government.

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