Here at Rightboat, we have been continuously monitoring the status of #boating and at last, here in the UK, we are all of course delighted to announce that many marinas and harbours are now open for business and we can at last get back on the water.
However, as excited as we are, we must be aware that the Government is still advising everyone to stay alert.
The most exciting part of this for all of us boat lovers is that all forms of water sports can now be practiced on open waterways, including sailing, windsurfing, canoeing, rowing, kayaking, surfing, paddle-boarding and the use of privately-owned motorised craft (in line with the guidance issued by the relevant navigation authority) are allowed.
You can continue to use towpaths for walking, running, and cycling, being mindful of other users and people living in boats along the water (not sure how the canal boaters will feel about the added impact this will have on their lifestyle though!)
Can we also assume that lakes will soon re-open for jet-skiing, windsurfing, kayaking, etc? We’ll confirm this as soon as we know.
Another exciting piece of news is just how the charter market has kept ‘afloat’ over the recent months. Enquiries on boat and yacht charters are higher than ever, with bookings for holidays in the UK later in the year already fulfilled - many boats are already fully booked for August and September and holidaymakers are taking advantage of the great prices available to secure a family holiday on board.
Forget about staying in hotels for your summer holiday - secure your boat charter ASAP! With more people than ever before considering a ‘staycation’ charter agents like Rightboat.com are busy searching for the right charter for each individual.
There are 1000’s of great opportunities aboard across the UK and Europe which means you don’t have to use public transport to reach your destination. Uk charter yachts across inland waterways like Henley on the Thames, French canals, Germany, and the Netherlands are easily accessible by car. Luxury river barges are another great option too.
Charter companies have put in place Covid-19 protection guidelines to safeguard those booking - this information is available by contacting our team (firstname.lastname@example.org)
When you decide to make the trip to your beloved motorboat, sailing yacht or catamaran, whether for a quick check-up, essential maintenance or for your first trip out on the water, make sure your kit is in tip-top condition and be prepared. For some of us, this may be the first time venture out since last season.
Here’s a handy checklist to keep you on track:
. Ensure you have your own PPE equipment, including gloves, facemasks, and anti-bacterial hand-wash.
. Check all licences, insurance, and registration documents are present and correct. VHF radio licence in date? Harbour licences? Is boat insurance valid?
. Is your safety equipment still in date? Flares and fire extinguishers have an expiration date - check yours. Life-rafts need to be checked too.
. Life jackets - do they still fit? Has the Covid-19 lockdown been an opportunity to put a few more pounds on round the belly perhaps ;) Or has Joe Wicks daily workout ensured you are a more slender version of your former self? Properly sized lifejackets, clean, and free of rot or tears on the material, straps, and seams are top of the list to check. Be ruthless and discard and replace any damaged life jackets.
. Inspection of the boat fuel fittings and hoses should be carried out, replace any cracked or stressed fittings you find.
. Carry out visual inspection of the boat. Some hulls get brittle with age, GRP can crack or split or metal fittings can rust. Hull fittings below the waterline should be tight and sea valves will need to operate freely.
. Watch your mooring lines too for chafing. Extreme weather and lack of maintenance can quickly wear them out. Replace lines if any signs of wear and tear are present.
. Check all your electronic gear, from fitting new batteries for portable equipment, radios, handheld GPS, and flashlights. Connections on lights, horn, and any other equipment wired into the boat.
. If you are trailing your boat ensure tyres are in good condition and properly inflated. Has the framework been maintained? What about the wheel bearings? Always test the trailer lights before towing and of course ensure brakes are working correctly.
. When it comes to the engine on your boat, if you regularly service the vessel this should stand you in good stead for a quick start, but always check engine oil levels, water levels and run the engines thoroughly before leaving the dock. How is the fuel in the tank? Need a top-up or drain?
. On your sailing boat, yacht or multihull take a good look over the rigging as it can corrode if left unattended so check for wear and tear and especially where chainplate mounts come through the deck.
. For more detailed information on preparation have a read of our article How to Get Your Boat Ready for Summer
Our advice when heading out is to have the MOST fun, but consider others whilst you do.
Access to marinas and moorings
Also important to remember that restrictions have only just been lifted so some marinas and harbours may not quite be ready for visitors yet. A quick phone call or email before you leave to confirm opening times and access is advisable.
As a community, it is exciting to see the industry opening back up again and we are confident that as a result more opportunities to get on the water will await us.
Premier Marinas, Swanwick has announced the launch of The Paddle Centre which will provide berth holders and visitors the opportunity to hire paddle-boards and kayaks to explore the river. Let us hope that more boating hubs around the UK find more fun ways to get us out and about on the water. Can’t wait to try that!
Interestingly, the news that estate agents are beginning to operate once again, will mean that boat and yacht brokers will also be able to begin boat sales too. Social distancing rules, of course, will apply and the wonderful opportunity for virtual boat tours, online meetings and all the great technology we’ve seen will make this a slick and easy process for all. Time to start searching for your next boat? We’re on hand to assist you every step of the way!
We will keep you up to date with all the news and advice as we hear it, so please do sign up for our newsletter and follow us on Facebook.
Enough chit chat lets get on the water and have some fun!
Regards, from us all at Rightboat #StayAlert, #StaySafe
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