Boats and Equipment
Keep the use of shared equipment to an absolute minimum thereby reducing the risk of the spreading COVID 19. Ideally, place any unnecessary equipment into storage out of the reach of Unauthorised Users.
- Where possible oars should not be shared however, when it is not possible to get by without sharing oars, then they must be thoroughly sanitised before and after every use.
- Oars with padded handles should not under any circumstances be shared.
- Particular attention must be paid to the cleansing of the Oar Handles and areas of the shaft which are handled when carrying the oars and placing them in and removing them from the oarlocks.
Personal Protective Equipment:
- PPE should never be shared, particularly items like Lifejackets, Personal Floatation Devices, Wetgear, Waders, Boots, etc.
- Where there is no option other than to share certain items of equipment such as Boats, Oars & Tillers, etc. a thorough cleansing/sanitising programme should be set in place ensuring that all such items are cleansed/sanitised Before & After every single use.
- A bespoke system of cleansing should be created for each piece of equipment specifying areas such as the oar handles, handled areas on the shafts when carrying and removing inserting oars into/from boats, etc.
- Accurate records must be maintained recording what equipment was cleaned, how and by whom. If necessary, all items of equipment should be individually numbered to assist in this record taking.
- Until an item has been thoroughly sanitised after use, it should not be allowed under any circumstances to return to service.
- Seat Cushions covered with Leather, Leatherette or other Non-Porous surfaces can be resused provided that all exposed surfaces and seams are thoroughly sanitised before and after each use.
- Seat Cushions finished with Textile, Cloth or other Porous materials must not under any circumstances be shared between different Members. If a Member uses His/Her own cushion, He/She must personally remove it after use.
- Wading or other materials used to assist sliding on suitably adapted seats and thwarts must not be shared between different Members.
Tillers / Rudders:
- Coxes should wear Vinyl Gloves when handling Tiller / Rudder Ropes, due to the porous and flexible surface of ropes it will be impossible to ensure that all surfaces of the rope can be sanitised short of dipping the rope in a sanitising solution.
Bow & Stern Ropes:
- Everyone handling Bow & Stern Ropes for example when assisting launching and recovery must wear Vinyl Gloves due to the porous surface of the ropes as it will be impossible to ensure that all surfaces of the rope can be sanitised short of dipping the rope in a sanitising solution.
- Launching Trollies must be cleansed between every use, sanitise all areas which were handled during a launching or recovery procedure.
Practice Good Hygiene
- It is essential that All Members must practice good Hand Hygiene at all times, there can be no exceptions.
- Draft a Regular Cleaning Schedule, paying particular attention to any common touch points (door handles, locks, light switches, etc.).
- Place Hand Sanitiser at all Entrance & Exit and common contact touch points such as door handles, light switches, cupboards & lockers, etc.
- Where there is no other option than to share certain items of equipment such as Boats, Oars & Tillers, etc. a strict cleansing/sanitising programme should be activated where all such items of equipment are cleansed/sanitised Before & After every single use.
- A bespoke system of cleansing should be created for each piece of equipment specifying areas such as the oar handles, areas on the shafts which are handled when carrying oars and inserting them into and removing them from the gates, oarlocks, spurs or pins, etc.
- Personal Protective Equipment such as Lifejackets, Wet Gear such as Boots, Waders, Gloves, etc. should not be shared.
- Accurate records must be maintained recording what equipment was cleaned, how and by who.
- It would be sensible that all items of equipment should be individually numbered to assist in this record keeping.
- Source and procure adequate supplies of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Cleansing materials and ensure that all persons with access to the premises & equipment have access as necessary.
- It is no use having all the stocks in the world if your Members who need them cannot access them when needed.
- Cleaning an area with normal household disinfectant will reduce the risk of passing the infection on to other people
- Wear Disposable or Washing-up type gloves and aprons when cleaning. These should be disposed of by double-bagging, then storing securely for 72 hours after which they can be disposed of in the regular rubbish.
- Using a disposable cloth, first clean hard surfaces with warm soapy water. Then disinfect these surfaces with the cleaning products you normally use.
- Pay particular attention to frequently touched areas and surfaces, such as Door Handles, Hand Rails in corridors and stairwells and light switches.
- Should any area be heavily contaminated, such as by visible bodily fluids, use Protection for the Eyes, Mouth and Nose in addition to Gloves and an Apron.
- On Boats, pay particular attention to areas of the boat where people are seated, areas where the boat is handled such as along the Gunwales, Hand Grips, Ropes, and Foot Rests, Straps, Pins and Tillers and anywhere that may have been contaminated by splashes of perspiration and other bodily fluids.
- On Oars, in particular, clean handles and the shaft as far as the collar before and after every single use. Any time an oar is removed from a boat for any reason, clean any other areas of the shaft that have been handled whilst moving the oar between locations.
- Launching Trollies, Tyres, rubber mats and Boat Stands must all be cleaned as necessary.
- Wash Hands regularly with soap and water for 20 seconds, particularly after removing gloves, aprons or other PPE used whilst cleaning.
Club Insurance & COVID 19
Before a return to activity, all clubs should ensure that their Insurance cover is in order.
When the indications from the authorities were that the likelihood was that there would not be any rowing this year, a number of clubs took the decision to suspend all club activities for the entire season an amended their insurance cover accordingly. Those clubs MUST contact their Insurance Providers or Brokers to ensure that they are covered to recommence rowing activities.
Cover for Return to Training, Recreational & Competitive Rowing
Prior to a resumption of club activities, Clubs must ask themselves the following questions:
- Had the club downgraded its insurance cover during the lockdown and prior to a resumption of club activities does it need to be restored to its original level of cover?
- Is the club covered in the event of an outbreak of COVID 19 within the club?
- If not, does the club require such cover?
Cover when Running of Regattas, Events & Races
When planning club events, Clubs must ask themselves the following questions:
- When will the club be running an event and in accordance with Public Health guidelines, what is the Maximum size of Outdoor Gatherings that will be applicable at that time of your event?
- Does the Club have an accurate means of counting the numbers in attendance at the event at any one time including Participants, Officials, Volunteers, Spectators and Casual Passers-by?
- It won’t be sufficient to simply count the numbers in attendance at the start of the day, people come and go and you need to be able to provide an accurate up to date count throughout the day.
- Does the Club have the Means or the Authority to restrict access to the venue/event (including restrictions to passers-by) in order to ensure that numbers remain within limits laid down in the Public Health Restrictions?
- What happens if the attendance exceeds that which is permitted? Should activities be suspended.
- In the event of a claim against the Club, will the Insurers require proof that the event was run in accordance with the Public Health Guidelines and can the club provide satisfactory evidence that this is the case?
- What happens if the Insurer refuses to settle a claim in the event of the club being unable to satisfy the insurer that the event was run in accordance with Public Health Guidelines?
The ICRF are not expressing an opinion one way or the other, we are simply posing questions which we believe clubs should ask themselves. Based on the answers to those questions, the clubs can decide how they will proceed.
COVID 19 Return to Rowing Risk Assessment?
Prior to any return to activity, clubs should conduct a specific COVID 19 Return to Rowing Risk Assessment in order to assess what club activities can be safely resumed and what mitigations need to be put in place in order to carry out these activities as safely as possible.
The ICRF has taken the liberty to produce a Risk Assessment template document which clubs are welcome to adapt to suit their circumstances and their needs. The Template Risk Assessment can be downloaded from here.
COVID Compliance Officers
Each Club should appoint Covid Compliance Officers whose responsibility it will be to ensure that all activities in the club are carried out in accordance with COVID 19 Public Health Guidelines and Regulations. The COVID Compliance Officers will also be responsible for familiarising themselves with current and upcoming COVID 19 Public Health Guidelines and Regulations in their jurisdiction and should advise the Club Committee accordingly.
Best Practice will involve there being a COVID Compliance Officer being in attendance during all club activities and therefore it will be a sensible course of action for each club to appoint multiple COVID Officers who can then be rostered to ensure there is someone in attendance at every session.
The Duties of COVID Compliance Officers include:
- Attendance at all Club activities to ensure compliance.
- Keep Up-to-Date with current and upcoming guidelines and advise the Committee accordingly.
- Ensure that a record is maintained of the attendance of all members for the purposes of Contact Tracing.
- Ensure that Boats and Equipment are appropriately sanitised between every use and all Common Touch Points are cleaned regularly and often.
- Ensure that Items of Personal Equipment such as PPE is not shared and where there is no option but to share, that equipment is thoroughly cleaned and sanitised between every use.
- Ensure that Members and Attendees rigidly adhere to Social Distancing, Good Hygiene and PPE guidelines.
It is very important that every club puts in place a means of recording & maintaining Attendance Records for the purposes of Contact Tracing. This means that if a Member or Attendee contracts COVID 19 and attends or has attended the club whilst infected, the Health Authorities will be able to contact anybody who may have been exposed to the virus whilst participating in club activities.
To achieve this end, the names and contact details of every person who attends club activities should be recorded. In particular, clubs should record the times that each member arrives and departs from an activity and who they were in close contact with, for example the members of a crew that they may have participated with during a particular session.
These records should be maintained in a format (preferably electronic) that can easily be passed onto the Health Authorities should the need arise.
The Records should only be retained for as long as necessary after which they should be securely destroyed.
Although many will consider the reopening of Sporting activity as a return to normality, this will not be normal. For the foreseeable future at least we have to do things differently.
By following Public Health Guidelines we including Social Distancing, Good Hygene practices, etc. what happens if somebody becomes infected outside of the club activities. How can we protect the rest of our members from being endangered by a fellow member who has already caught the virus or from a fellow member who is in a higher risk category of catching and spreading COVID 19 to the rest of the membership.
To that end, the ICRF recommends that each club gets every person attending any club activity to fill out a Member’s Health Questionnaire prior to joining in that activity. A new form should be completed prior to every single session and handed up or deposited in a dedicated receptacle. This form can also be used to assist with maintaining a Contact Tracing Log.
A sample of this questionnaire is shown here and can be downloaded at:
So long as an attendee provides answers indicating that He/She has no health issues then there should be no reason for preventing Him/Her from participating in club activities. Should an attendee provide an answer indicating there is something to be concerned about, then that person can/should abstain from participating in club activities.
Managing Access to the Club Houses & Premises
Whilst access to the club premises will be limited, it is still important to put in place plans to help people to follow Social Distancing guidelines.
To this end, consider:
- Before reopening of facilities, arrange thorough cleansing including all regularly used surfaces and touch points (e.g. door handles, light switches etc) and items such as Oars, Tillers and other stored equipment including radios and launching equipment.
- Ensure that there is an adequate supply of hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes, etc. for all participants and that a regular cleansing regime is maintained including waste disposal.
- If used, the capacity of indoor spaces should follow current social distancing guidelines.
- Use of signage indicating Maximum Permissible Numbers, Social Distancing, Hygiene Requirements, etc.
- Social Distancing Requirements (currently 2 metres) must be maintained in all situations at all times.
- Ensure that high-risk people do not enter the club premises.
- If any Member displays symptoms of the virus or suspects that they may be infected, or a member of their Household has the virus, they should immediately desist from attending any club activities and follow Health Service Guidelines by Self-Isolating at Home and contacting their GP.
- Maintain a comprehensive Log including up-to-date Contact Information of all people accessing Club Facilities including Premises & Equipment. This is to assist with Contact Tracing should the need arise. All Members should be clearly advised of the purpose of the Log and they should be made aware of the need to give their consent to the sharing of this information with the H.S.E./N.H.S. Contact Tracing Services should the need arise.
- If consent for the recording of attendance is not forthcoming from any Member, that person should be excluded from all group activity.
- When this Crisis is over the Logs should be properly disposed of in accordance with GDPR guidelines.
- Ensure your Premises has extensive signage and information regarding precautions for managing COVID-19.
- Managing access to shared equipment by implementing a roster or booking system.
- In areas with limited space, establish a strict one-way system.
- Keep a record of who has access to the premises.
Remember, everyone must follow the Government’s social distancing rules.
Some Useful COVID Links:
- Sport Ireland COVID 19 Advice
- Sport NI (Sport Northern Ireland) COVID 19 Information & Advice
- Sport Ireland Return to Sporting Activity Course
- HPSC (Health Protection Surveillance Centre) Interim Recommendations for Sport Activity
- NHS (National Health Service) COVID Advice for Grassroots Sport Participants
- Government of Ireland Public Health Updates
- Northern Ireland Executive COVID Guidance & Support
- Federation of Irish Sport Links to COVID Information & Advice
- WHO (World Health Organisation) COVID Information & Advice
- World Rowing (FISA) – Return to Training Advice