Phasing a Safe Return to Rowing – 15 May

To assist clubs with their future planning, we are publishing how we anticipate a phased, safe return to rowing will look.

hero__image

[Download this information as a PDF]

Earlier in the week, the UK Government released ‘Guidance for the public on the phased return of outdoor sport and recreation’ and this sets out more detailed information, specific for the sports sector, and building on the Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy.

To assist clubs and rowers in their future planning, we have mapped how we see a phased, safe return to rowing playing out (set out in the table below). The phasing is based on the latest information we have on future steps provided by the Government, but at each phase all activities will still be restricted by the precise nature of Government guidance (particularly that related to health, social distancing, non-essential travel and hygiene) and any local waterway authority restrictions. At this moment in time, we are currently at British Rowing’s Phase B in line with our guidance issued on 13 May.

British Rowing PhasesAffiliated Rowing ClubsOn-Water Rowing Competitions*
LockdownNo organised club-based activity
No on-water rowing activity
No competitions
Phase ANo organised club-based activity
Use of private boats allowed subject to restrictions
No competitions
Phase BNo organised club-based activity
Use of club boats & equipment possible subject to the club having appropriate Covid-19-related plans in place
Limited 1:1 coaching allowed
No competitions
Phase CClub facilities may reopen
Coached sessions may be possible, subject to social distancing rules (e.g. small groups of singles)
No competitions
Phase DIntra-club challenges*
Phase ELocal inter-club private matches*
Phase FAffiliated competitions restart
British Rowing Phases:
Lockdown
Affiliated Rowing Clubs:
No organised club-based activity
No on-water rowing activity
On-Water Rowing Competitions*:
No competitions
British Rowing Phases:
Phase A
Affiliated Rowing Clubs:
No organised club-based activity
Use of private boats allowed subject to restrictions
On-Water Rowing Competitions*:
No competitions
British Rowing Phases:
Phase B
Affiliated Rowing Clubs:
No organised club-based activity
Use of club boats & equipment possible subject to the club having appropriate Covid-19-related plans in place
Limited 1:1 coaching allowed
On-Water Rowing Competitions*:
No competitions
British Rowing Phases:
Phase C
Affiliated Rowing Clubs:
Club facilities may reopen
Coached sessions may be possible, subject to social distancing rules (e.g. small groups of singles)
On-Water Rowing Competitions*:
No competitions
British Rowing Phases:
Phase D
Affiliated Rowing Clubs:
--
On-Water Rowing Competitions*:
Intra-club challenges*
British Rowing Phases:
Phase E
Affiliated Rowing Clubs:
--
On-Water Rowing Competitions*:
Local inter-club private matches*
British Rowing Phases:
Phase F
Affiliated Rowing Clubs:
--
On-Water Rowing Competitions*:
Affiliated competitions restart

* See section below on competition

The timing of each phase will be dictated by the precise Government guidelines issued at each step (further details are set below). Clearly, should the Government increase restrictions, the phasing may need to be reversed.

Please see the sections below for further clarification:

This guidance is for clubs based in England – clubs in Scotland and Wales should follow the advice issued by Scottish and Welsh Rowing respectively (although we continue to share learning and good practice across the Home Nations). The Welsh Government will publish their plans for exiting lockdown on 15 May 2020, and Welsh Rowing will publish a phasing document for Welsh clubs and rowers once the released information is understood and clarified.  The latest news from Scottish Rowing is available on their website.


Timing of phases

It is difficult to plan precisely when each phase will be possible until the Government publishes further details of future steps. As restrictions are changed by the Government, they will be reviewed by British Rowing’s COVID-19 Situational Review Group and a decision will be taken on whether to progress to the next phase.

Once advice is issued by British Rowing, clubs will have to review their own readiness and decide when to put in place changes at a local level. Please remember that your club is run by volunteers with many demands on their time outside of rowing. Please be patient with your club as moving between steps may require a significant amount of work before the club’s facilities/equipment are ready for all members.

Based on the latest details from the Government, we are currently in Phase B and would see Phase C aligning with Step 3 of the Government’s recovery strategy (as shown in the diagram below) with phases D, E and F following after that.


Safety

At all times, throughout this phasing, clubs will need to put in place appropriate, adapted safety plans which are in line with British Rowing’s RowSafe guidance and comply with all relevant COVID-19 guidance (including from waterways authorities). These should also always follow both the spirit and the letter of any Government restrictions.


Further support available for clubs

Advice for how to approach planning for Phase B is available on our website and we are finalising further advice for other phases. This will be published by Friday 22 May.

Our Club Support team remains ready to support clubs with any advice they may require.

Please let us know if there are any specific topics you would like to see covered in the guidance by completing the form below.


Club facilities

The precise club facilities that can be opened in each phase will be led by Government guidance. At this stage, it appears this will be in two stages:

  • Phase B: Access to the absolute minimum level of facilities required for safe access to required boats and equipment. Toilets can be open.
    Gyms, changing rooms and social facilities remain closed.
  • Phase C: Gyms, changing rooms and social facilities (including cafes and club bars) may open subject to adhering to restrictions set out by the Government.

Based on the precise nature of Government restrictions when announced, certain club facilities may need to remain closed for longer (for example, club bars). Equally, clubs may decide not to open certain facilities even if technically allowed as part of their own club-specific risk management.


School & university rowing clubs

Unfortunately, clubs that form parts of schools or universities are in a more complicated position. These clubs will need to consider the advice given by the Government for schools and universities, rules set by their own organisation (including whether staff are furloughed) and specific advice for rowing issued by British Rowing. We would recommend following whichever set of restrictions are strictest at any time.


Coaching

The latest guidance from the Government advises that coaching is currently permitted:

If you are a personal trainer/coach you can now work with clients outdoors, providing you are alone and only meeting with 1 person from outside of your household, outdoors, and you are staying a minimum of 2 metres apart.

You can meet with different clients in a single day as long as it is only via one-to-one sessions and you are maintaining social distancing.

You should also enforce strong hygiene measures. This might be cleaning any equipment rigorously in line with wider guidance on hygiene, for example by using antibacterial spray and washing hands thoroughly before and after use.

We believe at this stage, it is not advisable to use coaching/safety launches. It is good practice for a launch acting as safety cover to have at least one crew member in addition to the driver meaning that it will be harder to adhere to social distancing rules. Similarly if when risk assessed it is found that individual safety cover is a requirement then this brings social distancing into question when a rescue is required.

Coaches should note that Resuscitation Council UK has issued updated guidance for sports coaches. We are currently seeking clarification regarding what level of personal protective equipment (PPE) would be appropriate for coaches and will publish this as soon as possible. In the meantime, coaches and clubs should consider how to minimise risk in situations where a potential casualty needs to be assessed and/or resuscitated.

We will consider the impact of future phases on coaching and will set this out in our upcoming guidance to clubs to be published by Friday 22 May.


Paid employees

Some clubs may have paid employees including coaches. These clubs should also consider all relevant Government guidance for employers when considering their plans for a return to rowing.


Competitions

Competition is an important part of rowing and we are exploring ways of reintroducing competition at club, local, and regional levels within the Government restrictions and in a safe and enjoyable environment before a return to Affiliated Competitions. This is being considered by our Back to Racing group and further advice will be published once available.

British Rowing has set up a series of online challenges/races and a Virtual Championships which will support indoor rowing competition in phases A-C.


National Training Centre at Caversham

The re-opening of the National Training Centre at Caversham has not been tied to a specific phase of this plan. While the Government has provided special guidance for elite training facilities (including requirements to follow specific standards to potentially allow these to open earlier than public sports facilities), many of our athletes are now living away in different households across the UK. Therefore reopening the centre may be difficult as athletes would not be able to relocate and ‘mix households’ to be back close to the Centre.

The GB Rowing Team continues to train at home and the performance leadership team continue to review the situation in consultation with athletes.


British Rowing Headquarters

Our Headquarters in Hammersmith remain closed with current plans indicating a phased reopening in line with Step 3 of the Government’s recovery strategy. British Rowing staff will continue to work remotely until this time.