Return to Boating Guidance – Scotland

Updated 3rd July 2020

General Guidance For Boating Activity

Update to Phase 2 –Phase 3

Key notes which apply to all boating activities:  

Participants should be aware that the easing of restrictions in the phase 2 update will come into effect on the 3rd of July. Outdoor Hospitality is proposed to come into effect on the 6th July this does not mean that all facilities offering outdoor hospitality will opeimmediately

 Owners and operators will require time to put plans in place to ensure the safety of participantsstaff and volunteers. Indoor facilities will remain closedYou shoulanticipate no changing and showering facilities available.   

Training Centres will require time to consider all the implications of opening facilities/venues and put plans in place to re-engage staff and to set up operations that ensure the safety of participants, staff and volunteers. Please be respectful of local challenges 

Cleaning information

We recommend you carry and use hand sanitiser which should be at least 60% alcohol based. Detergent wipes need to be appropriate for the surface they are being used on. Cleaning products should conform to EN14476 standard or any detergent will need to be followed by chlorine releasing agent. 

Be mindful of our fragile marine environment, do not release bleach products into the water and dispose of used wipes, gloves and masks responsibly. In addition, it may be worthwhile looking at best practice for general cleaning of equipment via  – The Green Blue.

Physical distancing requirements are still in place
People must stay a minimum distance of 2 metres apart when meeting others from outside their household. 

Travel distance limit relaxed, please note any local restrictions 

Meeting others is limited

You may meet outside with people from up to two other households (including an ‘extended household’) per day but the total number of people meeting must not be more than 8. 

For under 12s (0-11): Children under 12 are not required to maintain physical distancing with other children or adults outdoors. The number of overall households and individuals in a group is as above. 

For 12 and over (12-17): The number of overall households and individuals in a group is as above However, there is no limit to the number of these groups in a day providing that each contact aligns with the guidance. Physical distancing applies. 

Overnight stays at anchor are now permitted.

Before embarking on your journey check local restrictions with mooring owners/associations/harbour masters.

 #Respect the destinationPlan ahead, be considerate on arrival and think of the locals.

For Inland waterway users follow the link for further useful informationScottish Canals

General RYA Principles applying to all boating activity:

We will always follow Government advice – Scottish Government  

  • The COVID-19 preventative measures are vital to protecting health and well being and to minimising pressure on front line services.  We have a collective and individual role to play by following the Scottish Government guidelines 

We will, as a boating community, take a considerate and conservative approach 

  • Considerate of others: be mindful of the potential impact that you could have on other water users and local communities.  Do not place unnecessary extra strain on the RNLI and emergency services 
  • Conservative of risk: help to minimise risk by taking an extra conservative approach to your boating


  • Individuals should sail singly or as a crew with members of their household group. If physical distancing can be maintained, you may sail with up to two other households on a boat and with no more than eight people.
  • Participants are encouraged to use their own personal equipment during this phase, or to have equipment allocated to them for exclusive use during a set period. This equipment should be cleaned appropriately before being allocated to another user.
  • Participants must only take to the water in conditions well within their ability and which assume a self-sufficient approach to their activity.
  • Competitions should only be undertaken locally and informally at your own club where household, physical distancing and hygiene measures are in place.
  • Check your equipment thoroughly, particularly engines and fuel, as they may not have been used for some time. Consider using a device to keep in touch such as RYA SafeTRX on a mobile or carry a VHF and notifying someone ashore of your intended activity, anticipated time afloat and calling them when you are back ashore safely.

Plan –Your Activity

Planning your boating activity is key to ensuring you protect yourself and others around you. 

  • Consider your activity type, destination and timescales.
  • Consider your options for changing pre and post activity.
  • Check the weather, sea state, location of launching and the location you may be visiting during your activity. 
  • Check your destination availability – Do you have car parking availability? Is your intended mooring available? Have you considered rural community impact? Have you taken enough supplies to not go ashore or utilise destination shops?
  • Do you have a contingency plan?

All these factors will help you support your decisions to whether you are able to participate in your activity. Planning to make your activity fun, safe and enjoyable is equally as important as planning to reduce the potential spread of COVID 19 

Prepare –Your Craft

  • Have you checked your craft is ready and appropriate for your activity?
  • Have you checked your personal life saving equipment?
  • Have you checked your communication systems?
  • Have you planned the journey?
  • Do you have a shore contact?

Deliver –Your Activity

  • Be considerate of others on and off the water.
  • Be conservative in your approach to your sport and do not take any unnecessary risk that may put you or otherin danger
  • Avoid busy areas where social distancing is not possible. 

Wwoulrecommend that you do not launch at locations where yocannomaintain physicadistancing for example crowded beaches or hot spots.

Review –Your Activity

  • How did it go? 
  • What impact have you had on your destination?
  • Would you change any elements of the trip/activity/sport?

Consider how you can ensure you play your part in reducing the spread of COVID 19. By considering these factors you will be able to ensure your next visit to the sporting location will be potentially easier, safer and more enjoyable. 

Finally we provide online sessions for members, clubs and training centres where we maybe able to answer your queries and hear from others around specific issues as we return to boating. Look at our Facebook events page for more details.