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Lockdown gradually easing for sailors

The government will allow overnight stays on yachts from July 4th but travelling overseas remains problematic.

Members will be aware that the government has announced that from July 4th we can all sleep aboard and many will be looking forward to heading off 'over the horizon' again after a very delayed start to the sailing season.

But the rules are more complicated if you plan to head across the Channel to France, Belgium or Holland, with the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) reminding sailors that the 14 days quarantine rule very much applies to sailors returning from overseas to the UK just as it does for those having been brave enough to book a seat on Easyjet.

"Post the ending of the overnight ban, all sailors that plan to head overseas will still be subject to the legally enforced quarantine of 14 days and will be obliged to remain aboard their boats, or return immediately to their principle place of residence." said Stuart Carruthers, RYA Cruising Manager today.

Carruthers added, "Those regulations were expected to change if and when the UK Government open up 'corridors' to other European countries for tourism and travel. The RYA has a page devoted to Covid 19 news, and members are directed to keep a close eye on developments which we will be posting as soon as they become clear. We have also made this virus news page open to non-members."

The current 'quarantine on arrival' rules also apply for foreign flagged vessels planning to cruise UK waters. The Secretary of the Dutch HR association 'Hallberg Rassy Connectie', Fredrick van der Dussen, has been trying to find out exactly what are the regulations affecting Dutch sailors keen on cruising the English east and south coast in the coming months and has been in contact with the HROA for advice. He is deeply unimpressed with the idea that boats would have to immediately quarantine on arrival and not move their boats for 14 days.

"This means effectively that UK waters remain closed to Dutch yachts", said van der Dussen.

However the Dutch now allow UK sailors to enter Holland without quarantine, but the Foreign Office (FCO) advice remains in place for now, advising 'against all but essential international travel'. And that means us. It also means that there are questions about our insurance both personal and boat if we travel 'against FCO advice'. The marinas too are struggling with exactly how they handle government regulations pertaining to Covid 19.

"We are awaiting further clarification about how we handle any quarantine on yachts but we are not keen to receive any foreign flagged vessels requiring quarantine into our marinas," said Michael Glanville, Managing Director of Marina Developments Limited, one of the UK's largest marina operators today.

In that great cliche of news journalism: 'Watch this space.'