Operation of Powerboats during COVID-19 Restrictions

With the move to Step 3 of the Government’s “Roadmap” for easing COVID lockdown restrictions and the return to a substantially normal programme of activities including RYA training courses, the Club is reverting to its normal power boat operating procedures with the additional precautions detailed in this document. These precautions are based on current RYA guidance.


1) Cleanliness

This remains a key defence against COVID-19.

Please be careful to avoid spreading or picking up infection through contact with any surfaces by washing or sanitising your hands at the start of a duty and regularly thereafter.

2) VHF Sets

There is a risk of COVID-19 transmission because the microphone has to be held close to the mouth. To mitigate this risk:

Wash or sanitise your hands before collecting a set from the radio store.
Clean the casing, controls and particularly the microphone area with alcohol wipes (or use boat disinfectant and rinse – the sets are waterproof!).
Sanitise your hands and clean the set again when putting it away.
Do not share VHF sets – one person only to use the set whilst crewing a powerboat.
If you pass the set on to anyone else at the end of your duty then make sure that at least one of you sanitises their hands and cleans the VHF set thoroughly with alcohol wipes.


3) Distancing

If crew are from the same household no mitigations are required.

If 1m can be maintained between people from different households then normal operation of powerboats is a low risk activity requiring no further mitigations. 1m is possible in most of CVSS’s powerboats.

It is still low risk and requires no mitigation if people from different households come within 1m of each other provided that this is for no more than 3 secs at a time; the cumulative contact time does not exceed 15 minutes; and people are not face to face. If any of those conditions are breached then face coverings should be used.

The need for powerboat crew to be within 2m of anyone requiring assistance is minimal; and in almost all circumstances a distance of 1m to 2m can be maintained. Where physical assistance to recover a casualty into their boat or the powerboat becomes essential then wear a face covering and avoid face to face situations if at all possible.

4) Cleaning of Powerboats

Powerboats are no longer cleaned routinely after use.

However, if any of the crew develops symptoms of COVID-19 during their duty; or develops symptoms or has a positive test result within 48 hours of completing it then this must be reported to the Leader. Depending on circumstances they will either:
Arrange for the relevant powerboat and any associated equipment to be cleaned.
Arrange for the powerboat to be left for 48 hours before further use. Appendix 2 details the cleaning process to be used.

5) Manning Powerboats for Safety Cover

Safety boat must be manned by two volunteers who have passed the RYA Safety Boat course

Patrol boat must be manned by two volunteers who have passed the RYA Powerboat 1 and 2 course





APPENDIX 1 : Guidance for Powerboat Helm and Crew Afloat



Powerboat crew should maintain 1m (and preferably 2m) distance from dinghy sailors unless there is a risk of serious injury or worse.

2) Face coverings should be worn by the powerboat crew if there is any likelihood of them coming within 1m of the dinghy’s crew for more than 3 seconds.

3) If it is necessary to help someone get back into their boat to avoid a more dangerous situation developing then either:
Ask them to position themselves so that they will be scooped back in as the dinghy is righted by the powerboat crew OR
Assist them physically, preferably by lifting the straps on their buoyancy aid from behind with them facing their dinghy to avoid face to face contact.

4) If a tow is required then try to tow behind rather than alongside. Use a long tow procedure.

5) Wash or sanitise your hands thoroughly after touching a dinghy or its equipment, and/or after using the safety boat heaving line.


Contact time needs to be minimised as far as possible.

2) Powerboat crews should wear face coverings.

3) All involved should thoroughly wash/sanitise hands, face, any exposed skin and clothing as soon as practicable.

APPENDIX 2 : Cleaning a Powerboat

If someone develops COVID-19 symptoms whilst using a powerboat or immediately afterwards; or returns a positive test within two days of using the powerboat then all equipment they have been in contact with should be sanitised or left for 48 hours before being used again.

Materials / equipment provided:
Hand sanitiser (in dispenser on outside of building).
Alcohol wipes.
Spray bottle of disinfectant detergent.
PPE – face shield, disposable gloves and disposable overalls.

The disinfectant detergent is effective against coronavirus and is harmless to aquatic life. But even so, powerboats should not be cleaned when afloat to avoid cleaning fluids entering the lake directly. Powerboats should be recovered ashore for cleaning even if they are being used again immediately by another crew.

If a powerboat has to be cleaned by anyone other than the retiring crew then PPE must be used. The risk is from direct contact and splashing so a face shield, disposable gloves and disposable overalls should be used. The gloves and overalls are to be disposed of in the bin provided; the face shield will need to be disinfected and rinsed.

2) Alcohol based wipes must be used to clean the controls (steering, throttle, switches, VHF set if fitted) and any other parts of the boat they have had close contact with. The wipes are to be put into the bin (pink liner) immediately after use

3) No one other than the person doing the cleaning must be near enough to the powerboat so that they could be splashed during cleaning.

4) With the powerboat on its trailer, spray all potential contact areas – even those cleaned with alcohol wipes - carefully with disinfectant detergent. Pay particular attention to the key and kill cord and the bag containing the VHF set/handset – which should all be left in situ – as these are impractical to clean with alcohol wipes.

5) Leave for 5 to 10 minutes.

6) Use a car wash brush or similar to scrub over and rinse the entire powerboat, paying particular attention to the seat areas and controls.

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