CANI’s Current Recommendations for Paddlesport Activity Under Covid – 19

Updated for: Monday 12th April 2021

CANI confirm that organised paddlesport for NGB courses and affiliated clubs can resume with robust mitigating measures in place for groups of up to 15 individuals (as detailed below) under the new restrictions coming into effect on Monday 12th April.

CANI has taken guidance from NI Executive, Sport NI, British Canoeing and other National Associations.

Important – Please note:

Following a meeting with Sport NI and the Department of Communities on the Return to Sport, National Governing Bodies (NGBs) including CANI have be instructed to deliver a strong message to their affiliated clubs and providers as follows:

  • The guidance we have been given is that this is not a return for the full sector including business, leisure and tourism.  This is a reopening for NGB contracted courses and affiliated clubs only.  If you have any questions on this please contact the Sport NI Return to Sport Team or the Department of Communities. Affiliated clubs can contact CANI directly. 
  • This reopening is the “cautious first steps” and will be closely monitored and scrutinised before the next steps are taken.
  • NGBs have been strongly advised to follow both the word and the spirit of the regulations and guidelines, i.e. take only cautious first steps and don’t look for loopholes that would allow you to go beyond the intent of the guidelines.
  • This reopening for NGBs and affiliated clubs was lobbied for by the Department of Communities and was given ahead of the reopening of other sectors. This means that CANI affiliated clubs and contracted providers have a large responsibility to the whole outdoor community to get this right and be seen to be getting it right. Both preventing covid transmission and maintaining a positive public perception are very important. Transmission through outdoor sport or negative perceptions could close down this re-opening for the whole sector. 
  • NGBs have the power to sanction affiliated clubs and providers of NGB courses that are not following the guidelines and have been asked to implement these powers. 
  • Full details of the guidelines and practical steps are below
  • Please stay safe and remember; “Hands, Face and Space.”


Sport NI Stage 2, Substep A

From 12th April, up to 15 individuals (including children of all ages) can take part in structured outdoor sports activities including paddlesport.  This means that for example; 2 coaches can work with a group of up to 13 individuals, within your operating procedures and ratios. 

Outdoor sports facilities can re-open. However, club houses and indoor sports facilities (changing rooms, showers, kitchens, meeting rooms), apart from essential toilet facilities must stay closed.

The return to sport protocols put in place by sports governing bodies should be strictly adhered to including hygiene measures, social distancing and other mitigations.

Any behaviour which may encourage the risk of transmission around organised sports activities, such as car sharing, congregation of people on the side-lines and sporting celebrations, should be avoided.  Club’s need to inform their members of this and have an important role in preventing these behaviors from occurring. 

Key points:

“Stay local, reduce your contacts, save lives, protect the health service”

Please remember, “Hands, Face and Space”.

  • Organised paddlesport activities for NGB Courses and affiliated clubs (coaching, training, trips, etc) can resume for up to 15 individuals, including the coach or leader. This means that for example, 2 coaches can work with a group of up to 13 individuals, within your operating procedures and ratios.
  • Indoor sports and exercise facilities must remain closed.
  • This stage is strictly for training, competitions for elite athletes only.. Spectators are not permitted
  • Stay local, essential travel only
  • Read on for full CANI guidelines

CANI recommends that the following steps are followed for all paddlesport:

  • Organised paddlesport activities for NGB Courses and affiliated clubs (coaching, training, trips, etc) can resume for up to 15 individuals including the coach or leader. For example, 2 coaches can work with a group of up to 13 individuals, within your operating procedures and ratios.
  • There should be an appropriate safety framework in place (see BC Paddlesafe link below) following public health regulations. Please review and update covid operating procedures. 
  • The new regulations allow paddlesport to continue with robust covid 19 mitigating procedures in place as below. This now includes maintaining social distancing as far as possible including during active participation, with the exception of short periods of “close contact” for essential peer support and safety. In Stage 2, Substep A, close contact should be reduced as far as possible.
  • For courses which require a classroom element a blended approach may be taken with a mix of online and in-person outdoor learning. Indoor venues should not be used except for essential toilet facilities following the relevant mitigating procedures. 
  • Pool courses – With the current restrictions on indoor sport, pool sessions cannot take place. 
  • To operate within the scope of the British Canoeing/CANI insurance, you must be following the NI Executive Guidance. If utilising independent insurance, check with your insurer.
  • Activity must respect local restrictions. (i.e. Waterways Ireland and the Coast Guard).
  • Follow current government guidance on travelling and public transport (no unnecessary travel should be undertaken).  CANI advise to avoid popular spots and take the appropriate measures at places where you have to touch shared surfaces, lock gates, etc.
  • There should be no car sharing outside of households and bubbles including shuttles for trips. 
  • Expect public toilets and handwashing facilities to be closed. Use your toilet at home, and be extra sensitive to the need to observe best practice at all times.
  • Consideration should be given to the sharing of equipment. If sharing equipment, an equipment quarantining and/or rigorous cleaning process should be in place as per Health and Safety Recommendations and following equipment manufacturers instructions. 
  • Ensure a first aid kit is available and understand the changes in guidance. Please see the link below. 
  • For organised paddlesport from affiliated clubs and NGB courses, providers should; conduct and record up to date Covid-19 risk assessments, put in place mitigating procedures, covid consent forms (for agreeing; not participate if you have symptoms, to contact organisation if you develop symptoms and for track and trace), keep attendance records, follow government guidance on the use of facilities, conduct staff/volunteer training and raise participant awareness. Further guidance for providers is linked below.
  • Many individuals and organisations may wish to take further measures at their discretion, beyond the current guidelines to reduce the spread of covid-19 e.g. reducing group sizes, keeping people in “bubbles”, running lower risk sessions, etc
  • Managing a confirmed or suspected Covid 19 case, please follow link for Guidance for Sport and Clubs

If you are self isolating or have symptoms

Do not leave home to take part in sport or physical activity if NI Executive advice means you should stay at home because you, or someone you live with, has or has had symptoms of COVID-19. Most people who are symptomatic should self-isolate for 10 days. Please see NHS Guidance for further information.

General links

British Canoeing Paddlesafe guidance.

NI Executive Coroavirus public health information

Sport NI Return to Sport

Advice for Businesses

First Aid Update Guidance

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