Covid-19 Guidance and Operating Procedures

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Version 2.3, Reviewed: 26th September 2020

Currently we are operating at STAGE 3 (see diagram below).

All participants will be required to read the Covid-19 amendment outlined below prior returning to any club activities, and this document will apply in addition to our normal standard operating procedures.

We shall NOT be accepting new members at this time. 

The priority for the club remains to protect the health and well being of our members and volunteers and help to stop the spread of Covid-19.

It’s important to be aware that not all clubs are re-opening, some are only opening partially or using a phased approach and many may conduct trials and should they not work choose to revert back to closure. 

This will not be a return to normal club operations and all members should continue following the government and public health guidelines in the first instance. 

Anyone who is symptomatic or suspects they have been exposed must not participate and remain at home.

Use of any of our club facilities, equipment or the running of club activities can only re-commence with committee consensus and as outlined in the following document. 

1. About

The following document forms Blackwater Valley Canoe Club’s response, guidance and operating produces to members, in order to control the spread of the virus and has been written in accordance to the following publications.

2. Risk Assessments

The following risk assessments should be used in addition to all existing club site specific risk assessments for sessions, training, trips and events. 

2. Club Communications 

Members are reminded that the only authentic communications used for representation of the club and committee are those outlined in our Authenticity Statement.

3. Club Activities  

Members are reminded that only activities (i.e. sessions, events, competitions, etc). promoted through our official website are considered organised club activities and covered by our club insurance and waterways licence. 

At this time activities may also be subject to last minute changes and/or even cancellations so it is vital that you check both the website event details as well as social media for updates before attending any activity and that in order to attend you must book. 

4. Competency 

Members should paddle within their current capabilities and be aware that the club shall be reopening in a staged approach that may mean it’s not appropriate for all members to participate, so be considerate of those who are not yet able or ready to return. The fitment of equipment is challenging from a distance and we are required to minimise the risk of capsizes or rescues to limit the likelihood of contact. 

Participants shall be expected to use the following guide to self assess at what stage they can return. The club may increase or decrease the stage at any point as required. 


We shall only be opening to existing members in the first instance, however when we do start to allow new members ratios shall be maintained at 1:2 and all participation is still at the discretion of the volunteer(s) supporting the activity at the time. Volunteers/Coaches may choose not to take novices or any members who they are unfamiliar with at this time and this choice should be respected. 

The club committee has the rights to empower coaches, leaders and referees to be deployed to run activities. Internal club training is sufficient when deploying volunteers to run an activity, provided the clubs training process has been followed, to ensure those deployed are competent in the environment they are intending to operate. Safety qualifications such as first aid and the appropriate rescue training for the activity is still mandatory and should be up to date. If you have any questions, please do get in touch with us on

5. Facilities and Waterways

Only essential areas club facilities shall be opened to allow access to boats and equipment. 

When using a venue the guidance in this document should be used in addition to any existing club site specific guidance and risk assessment (e.g. Aldershot Lido Site Guide) or any conditions specifically provided by the venue direct in relation to their Covid-19 Procedures (e.g. Hawley Lake Covid-19 Procedures). Canals and waterways may also have restrictions in place around car parks or use and that it is everyone’s responsibility to review and check these before paddling.

All other facilities other than that considered essential should remain closed and at no time should more than two members be in any enclosed spaces at any time and they should not be used for socializing shelter. Within the stores/toilets boat handling should be restricted to one paddler at a time. Members should turn up at the venue ready to paddle and depart in paddling gear for removal off site as no changing facilities are available, limited access to toilets may be available but are required to be cleaned after each visit.

6. General Cleanliness

When accessing storerooms it is essential that hands are cleaned thoroughly using alcohol or soap and water prior to using any surfaces, touching equipment,  operating locks and handles. 

All surfaces that are touched should be also wiped down before/after or where possible limit contact with these surfaces full stop. 

7. Equipment 

The club is not permitting use of any club equipment at this time, with the exception of goals and polo balls required for polo games (see training and tournaments section). It would be unfair to allow some members usage without others and at this time not all equipment is accessible for all, we still have to consider the terms of hire, implementing a booking system and what costs should be put in place as we have currently paused fees at sessions.

Where possible and where appropriate if you hold any club equipment this should be returned to one of the club storage facilities. 

All equipment you use or have used (even if it is your personal equipment) should be rinsed both before and after usage. Any shared or club equipment must be cleaned with fresh water and left to drip dry for a minimum 72 hours before it can be used by another member. If the polo equipment is used you must also follow the surface cleaning guidelines to wipe the equipment down after use. 

If equipment is beyond the capability of one person to move/lift/handle then only members of the same household can assist with carrying/moving. You should also transport, move and manage all of the equipment you or your household are using, to minimise contact made with it. 

Members should refrain where possible making contact with another members equipment unless the two members are from the same household.

Equipment is not covered by insurance for personal use but that does not stop the club from permitting personal use of facilities/equipment at individuals own risk (venues permitting) and provided it is not done so in the club name. Additional hiring conditions or fees are likely to be required for sustainable lease of equipment to members if done for personal use.  

At this time we recommend that crafts that accommodate more than one person (or crew boats), for example a duo kayak or Canadian canoe are only used by members of the same household at this time.

8. Group Sizes

Access to the water should be tightly controlled. Contact between members is only allowed if those members are from the same household or during canoe polo contact games (where specific guidelines in our canoe polo section apply).

Everyone is equally responsible for following group size measures and being respectful to other members and waterway users at all times. 

Indoor Venues

  • Club activities at this time are limited to 6 people when there are any members over 18 attending the event/session, inclusive of any spectators
  • Parents can only help with their own household juniors however they must be included in the total number of 6.

Outdoor Venues

  • Club activities at this time are limited to 6 people per group inclusive of the coach
  • More than one group can operate simultaneously however each group must be completely isolated and self sufficient, and the total at one event/session should not exceed 30
  • Groups should maintain social distancing within a group between members (2m or 1m + with face protection), with the exception of canoe polo contact games (where specific guidelines in our canoe polo section apply).
  • It is against the law for gatherings of more than 30 people unless planned by an organisation in compliance with Covid-19 Secure Guidance. 
  • Parents can only help with their own household juniors and should stay well away from the group (unless already included in the group of 6). 

9. Food and Drink 

Individuals should always bring their own food and drink. Water bottles or other refreshment containers should in no circumstances be shared. 

10. Canoe Polo Training 

Competitive canoe polo training is allowed at sessions, provided a few additional guidelines are adhered to.  

  • The use of hand sanitiser before and after training, for hands and equipment, such as balls, goals and paddles.
  • If members are comfortable, contact is permitted during training. However, this should be limited to periods of 15 minutes. After which, a 3 minute break must be had where hands are sanitised.
  • All members should refrain from shouting instructions 
  • Spitting and the rinsing out of mouths is now recognised as a risk to health and must not be done. 
  • Water bottles should be individually labelled to avoid cross contamination.
  • Contact games can be played both at indoor and outdoor venues however members should adhere to the guidelines around group sizes that apply

Although not enforced, British Canoeing has suggested the possibility of adding flexible plastic to the face guard.

Indoor Venues

  • When any members are aged 18 and over only 6 participants can participate at the event/training session, inclusive of any spectators

Outdoor Venues

  • Up to 30 participants can participate at the event/training session but must still remain in their ‘team’ bubble throughout the session when not playing a game
  • Contact Games can be played with up to 7 players (5 plus 2 subs) each side and 2 referees
  • Any spectators (including parents and carers) must also be restricted to discrete six-person gathering limits and spread out, in line with wider government guidance, ensuring space for officials, coaches and substitutes, however not all venues shall permit spectators so you will be expected to follow the site specific guidance

11. Canoe Polo Tournaments

If and when tournaments and leagues restart, the rules and regulations of the tournament organiser shall require to be adhered to.

12. Events and Trips

We shall review any additional guidance and procedures for events and trips as required on a per event and trip basis.

13. First Aid and Rescues 

Ultimately preservation of human life is always the number one priority, so if a situation does arise you are permitted to conduct first aid where absolute required but contact should be kept to a minimum. We should also aim to avoid injury and the likelihood of capsize and the need to rescue. Everyone should be briefed on how to self rescue. If a rescue situation does arise we should firstly encourage a self rescue before engaging with any support. Volunteers/Coaches may choose not to take members who they have not paddled with before, or in a specific environment such as white water to mitigate rescues and this choice should be respected. 

14. Track and Trace

We are required to display an official NHS QR code to support NHS Test and Trace at each session and trip location that we operate.

We are also required to keep a minimum of a 21 day record of who has used club facilities, including paddlers and volunteers, to assist with the track and trace process. It is for this reason that all members shall be required to book online in advance, through our website and only members that book will be allowed to attend

For booking issues contact

For technical issues such as password resets contact

15. Car Sharing

Car sharing will be limited to those from the same household, this includes to and from sessions, trips and inclusive of any shuttles, and for this reason you must be able to transport your own equipment to club activities. So at this time we are unlikely to schedule in trips that require a lot of travelling or shuttling. 


We would like to get as many as we can back out on the water, however at this time anyone who is still considered vulnerable by the government should not yet return to club activities, if the government guidelines do not yet permit it. We may not be able to support the needs of all paddlers, if you or your child requires regular assistance getting in/out of the craft or with lifting your craft, you are required to ensure someone from the same household attends to assist. The participant and the assistant are both expected to book and participate so that support required by the paddler can be provided helping to keep our volunteers at safe distances.

Document History

Version NoDateStatusUpdateAmended By
1.023/03/2020FinalFirst Original Published as Statement Gemma Clements
2.003/08/2020 Final Revised from Statement to Guidance and ProceduresGemma Clements / Alex Tripp
2.106/08/2020Amendment Amendment for Polo Training Gemma Clements / Rhys Bryant
2.216/09/2020Amendment Amendments to align with Advice Published 15.09.2020.Gemma Clements
2.326/09/2020Amendment Amendments to groups and track and trace to align with Advice Published 24.09.2020.Gemma Clements