Covid-19 Precautions

In order to meet government guidelines required to ensure Covid-19 Safe Working compliance we will be making the following changes to the way that we manage the courses.
The most important consideration is that both our students and instructors feel that they are safe and comfortable in the environment that they are in.

General Changes

These changes will apply to both boat and classroom based courses
The registration process students will now incorporate a “Covid-19 Compliance” introduction (see below) explaining what steps we have taken and what we expect the students to do while they are on the course. This will also ask the student to confirm that they have had no Covid-19 symptoms for the previous seven days and that in the event that somebody on the course does subsequently test positive for Covid-19 that it is permitted to share their contact details with the NHS Covid-19 Track and Trace team. This will need to be signed by the student and brought with them to the course confirming that they are happy with the arrangements.
On joining the course students will have their temperature taken with a non contact thermometer. If the student’s temperature is over 38°c then we will not allow them to participate in the course.
Students will be issued with any necessary PPE. This will include disposable masks which will be replaced each day. If student wish to bring their own face masks we will encourage that. Disposable gloves will be provided for classroom courses. Lifejackets will be issued to a student for the duration of the course and should not be stored together at any time.
Instructors will wear face shields rather than masks as it is easier to communicate.
Prior to any course, and at the end of each day, all hard surfaces in the boat or classroom will be thoroughly wiped with antibacterial wipes. Any tools or equipment, including lifejackets, should be sanitised. Hand sanitiser will be provided and should be used regularly throughout the day.
Meals will be packaged in individual containers to avoid cross contamination. Do not use plates, eat from the container. Mugs should be assigned to students at the beginning of the course and we will ask the students to wash them themselves during the course. No glasses will be used in the classroom and water from the cooler should be drunk from disposable cups or students own refillable bottles. Bottled water will be available on the boat. At the end of the course the mugs should be collected and left in a prominent place in the classroom where they will be collected and washed in a dishwasher before being returned. All left over food and packaging should be discarded.
Where ever possible we will ensure that instructors have a clear seven days between courses.

Boat based course specific changes

The initial safety briefing will be held in the classroom EXCEPT when there is a classroom based course scheduled to run on the same day when the briefing should be held on the bank.
Students will bring their own gloves and should wear them at all times except when eating or drinking.
Students should be issued with a windlass which only they use during the course
Maintaining social distancing on the boat is a challenge, It is physically impossible at 2m but feasible at 1m. It is possible to have three people on the stern of Gwendoline May, one on the tiller and one standing port and starboard as far forward as possible in the gap between the taffrail and the cabin side. By ensuring that masks are worn and that wherever possible people are facing away from each other added the fact that we are outdoors then we will have minimised the risk of infection. As of 23/06/2020 the English infection rate is approx. 1 in 1600 i.e. you would need to meet (on average) 1600 people before you met somebody with Covid-19.
If the students consist of one family group or there are just two students then social distancing becomes a lot easier. We will look at the feasibility of maximising the number of courses that are single family or just 2 people when we reschedule courses. Inside the boat is more of a challenge. Two people can sit diagonally opposite on the seats and be 1m apart. With the front doors open a third can sit on the top step. The instructor should stand in the galley area. However whenever possible food and drink should be taken outside the boat and for preference on the bank. We have provided folding chairs which are colour coded. Students should only use the chair that they are assigned at the beginning of the course.
All towels on the boat have been removed and replaced with paper ones.
We will put signs up in the toilet explaining what needs to be done after every use.

Classroom based courses specific changes

Wherever possible we will restrict the numbers on the course to 5 people. This will enable adequate social distancing for the presentation delivery.
We ask students to wear masks and disposable gloves at all times except while eating.
Rather than running practical sessions scattered throughout the day we will combine them into one longer session. This will enable us to maintain social distancing by having people on multiple practical exercises at the same time rather than all on one together.
Weather permitting, we will have both doors and all windows open to maximise ventilation.
Tools will be sanitised after every use.
We will put signs up in the toilet explaining what needs to be done after every use.

The reality is that we will never be able to say that there is zero chance of contacting Covid-19 on one of our courses or indeed in any circumstances, however we believe that by adhering to our additional precautions we can reduce the risk of transmission to an acceptable level.