In line with the latest government advice for England, the boating industry appears delighted that, from Saturday 4 July 2020, all boaters can stay overnight on their boats and take extended cruises “provided that no more than two households stay together”. Holiday hire boat companies will also be able to freely operate as long as they take precautions around safe practice, such as extra cleaning. Additionally, the new guidance allowing people to keep a social distance of ‘one metre plus’ will also please many struggling to operate under a two-metre social distancing ruling, and perhaps pave the way for boat shows to open with practical, workable guidelines for health and safety. Across England, indoor facilities at sports clubs, like changing rooms, will remain closed but boat owners will have the ability to appreciate life onboard to its fullest. Harry Theochari, chair of Maritime UK, said:
"We are delighted to see that the holiday hire boat industry can re-open from July 4, including the booking of overnight stays on boats. Britain absolutely needs a break and this will provide a real boost to morale for millions of people.
However, we cannot underestimate the challenge that lies ahead for large parts of the economy, maritime included. Just take the cruise industry - which supports thousands of jobs in coastal communities - they haven’t been able to earn a penny since lockdown. As we ease restrictions, it's crucial that those sectors that can help deliver balanced, regional growth, like maritime, are supported as a priority."“We’re delighted that our berth holders will be able to overnight on their boats once more,” says Tim Mayer, Sales and Marketing Director, MDL. “It’s been a long wait, especially with the weather being so beautiful and no chance of overseas holidays with the current quarantine restrictions. It’s at times like these that our marina network really comes into its own, with people being able to cruise the Solent or the West Country and experience all that our coastline has to offer. Obviously, our berth holders and other visitors will expect to see changes at the marinas as we adapt to one-metre plus. Our primary concern is, as ever, to keep our teams, berth holders and visitors as safe as we can, so we’ll be following the covid-secure guidance and would like to thank everyone for their patience and cooperation in advance as we set out for a summer of fantastic sailing.” “It is apparent the UK public have realised that overseas travel could be disrupted for some time to come and the idea of a summer afloat in this country is a very real option,” agrees Will Blair, Group Marketing Director, Ancasta. “Now that the green light’s been given to overnighting onboard, it can only get better. If owners are sensible with who and where they go, then this bizarrely could end up being the summer for UK boating. We have new and used “turn-key” sail and powerboat stock available so it is well worth getting in touch with your local Ancasta office as soon as possible.” This also means that waterways in England will be fully open for boating, angling and paddle sports. However, the Canal & River Trust issued a statement saying:
“In Wales, you can go out on your boat if you can do it locally. This generally means not travelling further than five miles to where your boat is moored. There should be no overnight stays on boats, no landing in any place beyond the immediate local area and a return to the point of departure. The restrictions on staying local could be lifted on Monday 6 July, if conditions allow, and we will update further when this is confirmed.”