Guidance for Centres

Tuesday 23rd June 2020


From Friday 12th June, centres and providers within outdoor sports can operate with a maximum group size of 10 (including coaches and leaders) where social distancing can be maintained. It is important to remember that this is not a return to normal operations, please follow the guidance below.

This means that activities can now take place, where paddling activity has had due diligence completed by the relevant and accountable person(s) including; covid risk assessments, mitigating procedures and information for participants.

The Canoe Association of Northern Ireland welcomes that restrictions continue to be lifted and would like to thank all paddlers and clubs for responding so responsibly during this lockdown period.

This guidance should be read in conjunction with documents issued by the NI Executive and Sport NI.

Our priority remains to protect the health of our members, volunteers and staff and help to suppress the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

We recommend that members continue to follow the government and public health guidelines and to stay at home as much as possible. Anyone who is symptomatic or suspects they have been exposed to the virus must not take part and remain at home.

This guidance relates only to affiliated clubs in Northern Ireland, as policy and guidance in Scotland, Wales and England is subject to the devolved governments and their respective national governing bodies.

Additional considerations for centres and hire providers

CANI suggest that all centres and hire providers should follow the guidelines below:

Participants should be competent in the environment and able to self rescue. Coaches, Leaders and Providers should have mitigating procedures in place to reduce the likelihood of breaking social distancing. Paddles should only be planned where no rescues are likely to be needed and self rescue will be sufficient. This means that circumstances where rescues that break social distancing are likely should be avoided. Therefore we recommend at this step beginner/novice sessions should be avoided due to the difficulty of maintaining social distancing. Beginners’ sessions introduce the unknown elements of participant’s; water confidence, physical ability and boat control therefore it will be very difficult to have effective mitigating strategies in place to maintain social distancing. CANI is obliged to make the most reasonable interpretation of government guidance in the service of its members. 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. Organised activity can resume for up to 10 competent paddlers on the water at any one time including coaches/leaders maintaining social distancing. Multiple groups should not be on the water at the same time and in the same place. Sharing of equipment should be avoided where possible. 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.

Any facilities associated with outdoor sports and physical activities are permitted to re-open.

Each venue should make their own decisions about when their facilities are ready.

Facilities can decide whether or not they hire out equipment, including canoes and other paddle craft. Operators should follow the NI Executive and Sport NI’s phased frameworks. 

This guidance emphasises that this is not a return to normal operations.

Before re-opening its facilities, centres and hire providers are required to put in place plans and COVID-19 risk assessments to reduce the risk of transmission of coronavirus.

The principles to help centres and providers prepare for a phased return include:

  • Working to ensure the outdoor activity can meet public health guidelines. All activity should be consistent with the government guidance regarding health, social distancing and good hygiene.
  • Centres and providers will need to communicate clearly and regularly with customers setting out what they are doing to manage risk, and what advice they are giving to individuals to do likewise.
  • Centres and providers should be ready to strengthen or relax measures at short notice and are encouraged to think creatively about how best to make activity possible within these guidelines.
  • Check with your insurance (not following Government guidance could invalid your insurance)
  • The maximum group size is limited to 10 including coaches and leaders. 
  • You should only reopen or restart activities as soon as you feel able to do so safely. Until you feel it is safe and responsible to reopen you should remain closed.
  • Booking in advance, online or over the phone is preferable. Where this is not possible, and a venue has staff available to take bookings consider mandating contactless or at least card payment, to avoid handling cash.
  • Cleaning protocols should be put in place to limit coronavirus transmission in public places. It is advised that touch points should be particular areas of focus for increased cleaning.
  • Maintaining hygiene, through handwashing, sanitisation facilities and toilets.
  • If you can, wear a face covering in an enclosed space where social distancing isn’t possible and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet.
  • If there is the capacity and resource to be in a position to serve takeaway food and drinks, then hot and cold food may be served for consumption off the premises (i.e. outside of the building).
  • Indoor facilities, apart from toilets and through-ways, should be kept closed. You may reopen car parks if you need to. Indoor facilities used must have public health measures in place.