As with all other UK Ports and Harbours, Looe Harbour Commissioners have been following Government advice since the Lockdown on the 23rd March 2020.
We understand that many of the restrictions imposed have been frustrating to a number of Harbour users, both from a leisure and commercial perspective.
As the Port Authority, our objective has been (and will continue to be) to minimise risk not only to our staff, but also port users, emergency services, members of the public and our local community.
The recent speeches given by the Prime Minister (together with the documentation that followed) introduced an element of uncertainty with regards to leisure activities. None of the guidance available to date, specifically covers recreational water sports or recreational boat usage.
For some time, Looe Harbour Commissioners have been working tirelessly with other Ports, Harbours and Professional Organisations to obtain definitive answers, which are now expected by the end of the week.
Once definitive advice is received, an informed decision will be made with regards to which activities will be permitted within the jurisdiction of Looe Harbour Commissioners.
The need to maintain social distancing remains the key message from Government. Stakeholders should therefore be warned, that even when restrictions are formally ‘eased’ with regards to recreational boating, it is likely that certain measures will need to be enforced to ensure that Government guidelines are adhered to.
LHC have therefore reached the decision that until further notice, use of recreational vessels will not be permitted within our jurisdiction (Jurisdiction of Looe Harbour Commissioners being defined as: All Commissioners property and navigable waters up river of the Southern end of the Banjo Pier, together with all waters South of the Banjo Pier and within an arc 846 yards outside the seaward end of the Banjo Pier).
For clarity, ‘recreational vessel’ includes; sailing boats, gigs, paddleboards, kayaks, jet skis, kitesurf, windsurf boards or any other form of vessel being used for recreational purposes.
We offer you our assurance that we will continue to work with other ports and associated organisations to resolve this matter as soon as practically possible and in the meantime, appeal for your understanding and co-operation during these very difficult times.
Chief Executive/Harbour Master
Looe Harbour Commissioners.
This statement was released today the 12th of May 2020 20:04 GMT
BPA & UKHMA Statement on Marine Leisure Activities
The British Ports Association and UK Harbour Master’s Association have been liaising with Government and other industry bodies about the easing of lockdown restrictions in respect of marine leisure activities.
Following this week’s UK Government announcements on the phased lifting of Covid-19 restrictions across the economy, many in the leisure sector have been asking what this means for our industry and there has been an understandable interest from many leisure users who want to get back out on the water.
We are all extremely keen to see this, but marinas, ports and others in the sector will need to consider the Government’s latest guidance (as it becomes available) in respect of which activities will be permitted in all parts of the UK. The BPA and UKHMA have therefore prepared the below note which members may wish to issue to their port users and stakeholders:
The Government has not yet issued any specific guidance on leisure marine activities and a number of important issues surrounding the potential reopening of marinas, slipways, pontoons etc. and access to leisure vessels still require urgent clarification by Government. Although we expect that specific Government advice will confirm that certain sailing activities and water sports will be able to start shortly, marine leisure facilities around the country will need to be assessed and prepared to accommodate social distancing and hygiene measures.
The British Ports Association (“BPA”) and UK Harbour Master’s Association (“UKHMA”) have been in daily contact with relevant Government departments and are assured that further guidance is expected to be released shortly. The more general Transport Sector guidance released today makes it clear that organisations are expected to consider it in full, and translate its principles and examples into specific actions. To comply with their legal Health and Safety obligations organisations also need to ensure that risk assessments (which take account of relevant guidance) have been carried out and suitable policies and procedures put in place. To do this properly and safely will take time once the guidance is released, to ensure safety for users, staff and also the public. This also means that there are likely to be certain measures we all need to follow that could alter what leisure users can do.
The BPA and UKHMA therefore suggest that Looe Harbour Commissioners consider waiting for the more specific guidance to be issued before easing their current restrictions. The intervening period can be used to consider the newly released Transport Sector guidance and to prepare the relevant policies and procedures. These can then be adapted following the release of the more specific guidance.
In the meantime for the safety of everyone, we would ask that recreational marine leisure users remain patient and understanding as we continue to cooperate and work closely with Government. We will be in touch again shortly once we have a further update.