Commodore’s comment COVID 19 UPDATE – May 2020
This month’s newsletter has been delayed slightly as following last week’s announcement that the Covid-19 restrictions were to be eased, I wanted to see if it would be possible to start opening up the club, all be it on a restricted basis, so that we can finally get our boats back out on the water again.
I know that some of you thought that as of Wednesday last week, you would have been free to take your dinghy out onto the lake and sail, but unfortunately, to bring the club out of total lockdown has placed some challenging legal obligations on both the Committee and the Clubs Trustees. A sub-group of the main committee have had to wade through many pages of instructions, recommendations and guidance.
After a long and detailed risk assessment and observation of regulations, with the support of the sub-committee, I have been able to produce a set of clear guiding policies to allow us to get back on the water. By their very nature, they must be succinct and unambiguous. That said, we are sure that our members are very capable of making sensible decisions against them to enjoy the freedom to sail, and immediately below is what the sub-committee and Trustees would term as "guidance and explanation’’ of the eight temporary requirements which then follow.
We have moved the main first aid box and defibrillator into the boat shed just inside the right-hand door. Alongside them will be cleaning wipes and sanitizing gel. You are recommended to use them to wipe over door handles and your hands. We are trusting that you will lock this door on leaving the boat shed.
We would recommend you bring some wipes with you as well, please take care of opening and closing the main gate, use gloves or wipe your hands after closing it.
Note. When FOSSC initially opens on Wednesday 20th May, sufficient wipes and sanitizing gel may not be available in the boat shed. Supplies have been ordered and will be located in the boat shed as soon as delivered. In the meantime, please ensure you have sufficient of your own supply with you.
We cannot operate safety boats, that said, safety boats have only been deployed to support Club events so this is not a new situation and members have for years come down and gone sailing at their own risk. In the current situation I would ask you to consider the Government's request to minimize pressure on emergency services. To this end, please consider your safety against the conditions prevailing at the time.
The Club and its members can deploy non powered craft to support sailing. Clearly this would be helpful if you have young inexperienced family members out on the lake. However, this should not be taken as a reason to go paddling round the lake as this is not permitted by our lease and may result in push back from our landlord.
- Club Equipment
You will be aware that workplace restrictions have stopped hot desking and shared use of equipment, there being a need for thorough cleaning between users. The Club does not employ Staff and it is not reasonable for Committee members to attend the club to clean equipment. Yes, we could assume you all carefully clean before and after use, however the regulations clearly puts the onus to ensure this happens onto the Committee and Trustees so we have little choice but to suspend the use of club boats and equipment such as the lawn mowers.
- Club House.
Regulations require all surface areas be regularly cleaned and in the enclosed spaces, social distancing is enforced. Again, without permanent cleaning staff this cannot be achieved. Coupled with the health risks of water contamination from legionnaires disease we cannot open up the club at this time. In the mid-June time frame deep cleaning and flushing of the water systems is planned.
We know that this means no toilets or changing facilities. As with many outdoor activities you will have to plan ahead, fortunately with the good weather the lake has lost its winter chill and hopefully the need to put on wet or dry suits has passed.
- Club Grounds
We are very much aware that not all members can leave their homes because of self-isolating. The club by-law relating to keeping your berths tidy, is therefore suspended until further notice. Those of you who can come down and do some maintenance on their berths, please remember to bring a strimmer or your own billhook. We plan to hold a large work party in first week of July (if Government regulations allow) with plenty of cleaning equipment to get the mowers out and get the club looking its normal tidy state.
On the following two pages you will find the official rules that we must all currently abide by when using the lake. As and when the government and/or RYA adjust the rules which we have to follow, then I and the sub-committee will review the impact on FOSSC and I will re-issue them to all members.
A laminated copy of the rules can also be found attached to the boat shed.
I can now formally announce, that as of Wednesday 20th May, Townfield lake and FOSSC are available for recreational sailing only.
Stay safe, and enjoy getting out on the lake.
Use of FOSSC for recreational sailing activities
Note: throughout the following information text, the word “member” refers to both “individual members” or “members from the same household”.
Following communications with our landlord and the RYA- SW area, I can now confirm that as of Wednesday 20th May, Townfield lake at FOSSC will be open for recreational sailing only by members. RYA guidance is that only recreational sailing is permitted at this time. No racing of any kind, or organised events are allowed.
Due to the on-going restrictions imposed by the government with respect to the Coronavirus situation, the comprehensive risk assessment conducted by a sub-committee has resulted in the following restrictions and procedures having to be made conditional on use of the lake by FOSSC members. As the Coronavirus situation changes, in line with government changes, some of the restrictions and procedures will be adjusted. When this occurs, this notification will be re-issued to all members.
Compliance with the requirements below by members means that we hope that it will not be necessary for members to book slots to use the lake.
Members enter the FOSSC site at their own risk and are advised to bring towels, wet wipes etc. so as to keep hands and surfaces clean. There are two fresh water taps located on-site.
- Car Park
The main gate should be kept closed and if you are the last person to leave the site, the padlock should be securely locked. Please clean the gate and padlock as required.
Cars should be parked in the car parking area only and at a minimum of 2 metres apart.
- Club House
At this point in time, the club house is closed and not available for use. Members should arrive already dressed for sailing or be able to change in their vehicles.
- Boat House
at this point in time, the boat house is officially closed. However, it is accepted that some members will find it necessary to open the right hand door to retrieve or replace dinghy sails. This door should be kept locked and not left open.
The First Aid box, Defliberator and hand sanitation will be available inside the right hand door of the boat house.
We strongly advise that sails etc. are not returned to the Boat House, but are taken home to limit the chance of cross contamination.
- Club equipment
No club equipment or boats are available for use.
Both the main jetty and Mirror jetties are available for use, but social distancing must be observed, along with the wearing of buoyancy aids at all times. Only one boat/member is allowed on the slipway at a time.
Use of the middle jetty is strictly forbidden due to the Winter maintenance activities not having been completed but the adjacent slipway can be used.
- Townfield Lake
There are no restrictions as to how many sailing dinghies can be on the lake at any one time as social distancing can easily be observed. The following rules will apply:
- Use of sailing dinghies is limited to single handed ones, unless used by members of the same household.
- A maximum of 30 dinghies are permitted on the lake at any one time.
- Non-powered craft, ie. Kayaks, as per current club rules, can be used to provide support to sailing dinghies whilst on the water.
- Use of the lake is restricted to recreational use only, no formal activities are allowed.
- No buoys (4 corner markers and secondary) are allowed to be moved.
- Dinghy rigging / de-rigging
Members must adhere to social distancing around the boat at all times.
- Launching & recovery to shore
Social distancing must be observed at all times. During the launch and recovery, we can become more focused on the boat than the surroundings, so members must be cognisant of social distancing at this time.
Please remember that you will be responsible for stowing and retrieving your own trolley, which should not be left so as to inconvenience others..