Return to Sailing FAQs

The following Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) have been put together to assist clubs, centres, classes and individuals in support of the Return to Sailing Scheme , and the most recent Government Roadmap for Reopening Ireland. Irish Sailing will continue to review the Government guidance as more detail becomes available.  

These are questions that have come from Irish Sailing clubs, centres, classes and members. The answers below are a guidance on how we may return to our sports. By working together and using the Return to Sailing Scheme principles sensibly and responsibly, we can make sure that our return to the water is safe for all.

If your questions are not answered here, please email

This is a Live Page that will be updated regularly, FAQs were last updated on 23 October 2020.

FAQs Under Level 5 Restrictions  

Updated 23/10/2020       

This document will be updated regularly should any further questions arise and/or further clarity Government Guidance is shared.

Personal FAQs

  1. Can I go sailing?
    Under L5, Adult Sailing is for individual sailing (non-organised activity) in single handers or same household crewed boats. Subject to any local harbour restrictions that may be in place, access to your craft must be within 5km of your home, and the craft must return to home port.

    Non-contact sailing, windsurfing or powerboat training can continue for school aged children, outdoors in Pods of 15. It is permitted for parents to travel beyond the 5km limit “to take school aged children to permitted training as provided for in the Exercise and Sporting section above”. Coaches and supervisors are also allowed to travel beyond the 5km limit for this purpose.
  2. What is a ‘Pod’ System under Level 5?
    Organised Sail training / activity / exercise for school aged children up to 15 people including coach and/or adult safety supervisor and can do so in multiple pods once sufficient space is available and strict public health protocols are in place. This allows for mixed household crew using the pod system to facilitate effective contact tracing.

    The use of multiple pod’s is to assist with minimising the number of people in a group while acknowledging that some outdoor and indoor facilities have the capacity to cater for larger numbers of people in a safe manner and within public health guidelines. People participating in pod training can be from different households.

    The number of pods in a given facility or area will depend on the overall size of space available.

    The space between pods will depend on the nature, duration and intensity of the session but it should be clearly evident that the pods are independent groups not interacting with one another. At a very minimum Social Distancing of 2m between pods should be implemented.

    Depending on the frequency of activity (i.e. multiple times in a week) it may be helpful for participants to stay within the same pod.

    A coach or instructor may oversee more than one pod and should be counted in the overall numbers.

    The coach should not move freely between pods but rather oversee the activity of the pods.

    People within the pod should be aware of slipstream effect and avoid being directly down wind of others in the pod as much as possible.
  3. Can I lift my boat out of the water for essential winter maintenance and to comply with insurance requirements?
    Yes - in L5 under essential services: the operation of ports and harbours are deemed essential and subject to local harbour restrictions “any service required for the safe provision of a service required for the operation of ports and harbours” is allowed.
  4. Will the 14-day quarantine for overseas visitors be over soon?
    The 14 day quarantine and self-isolation for oversea visitors continues as normal and the Government continues to review the “Green List” of countries which allow non-quarantined travel every two weeks. Updated travel advice may be found here.
  5. Are foreign boats allowed to visit Irish shores?
    The arrival of personal non-national leisure vessels is banned from visiting Irish ports, marinas, and harbours with some exceptions (e.g. ‘port in a storm’). Boats from Northern Ireland are exempt from this restriction
  6. I am the Owner of an Irish Boat currently lying overseas – am I allowed to sail it home?
    ​​If you as an Irish citizen and/or Irish National own the boat, it would not be classed as a ‘personal non-national maritime leisure vessel’ regardless of where it is registered. There have been a number of Irish Boats that have returned to Ireland throughout the lockdown period. Irish Sailing’s interpretation of the travel restrictions is that Irish leisure craft are allowed to return to Ireland and you should comply with restrictions in place at the time on arrival. There are some Ports and Marinas who may have a different interpretation and you should check with them before deciding to make the trip.
  7. Can I go racing and then go for food/beer afterwards?
    In L5 no competitions or events should take place (with the exemption of Elite and Professional Sailing), club catering/bar facilities should be closed  with the exception of Take Away or Delivery Service and no formal indoor or outdoor gatherings should take place.
  8. What is meant by ‘Home Port’?
    “Home port” in our Living with Covid Sailing Scheme refers to your launch site or where your boat currently lies and it must be 5km from your home in order to sail for exercise and you must return to this port on your return.
  9. What are the regulations under level 5 for race officials at international events, can they still travel?
    Travel for people officiating at international/professional/elite events like European and World Championships is considered appropriate by Sport Ireland.

    The International Travel Guidance for HP Programmes should be applied to these individuals to minimise their risk whilst away. Officials that have other forms of employment (most likely in this instance) will still be required to adhere to the 14-day restricted movement guideline if they return from a non-green list country. This restriction may change under an updated Government roadmap due September 14th. At present, the 14-day requirement is not a form of quarantine but rather limiting daily interactions for a period.
  10. Do we need permission from the Irish Coast Guard and RNLI to go sailing?
    We work closely with the Irish Coast Guard and RNLI – if they advise that the public should not take part in any water-based activity on or in the sea while national emergency restrictions are in place, we will support this. There are no restrictions in place at present.


Safety FAQs

  1. What happens if a child catches COVID 19 within our training pod?
    Should any participant complain of Covid-19 symptoms during an activity or while on-site, seek medical advice immediately and follow the guidance received.
  2. When can a person return to a club after they have been diagnosed with Covid 19?
    The HSE Test Results info is here In summary, you’ll need to continue to self-isolate until both of these apply:
    1. you have had no fever for 5 days
    2. it has been 14 days since you first developed symptoms
  3. How long do we keep records from a GDPR perspective?
    As per GDPR and HSE Guidelines you should retain records no longer than is necessary for the specified purpose or purposes and as always keep personal data safe and secure. Digital Contact Tracing Data is needed to be available for 14 days after an activity from a medical perspective, but 2 months is a reasonable time to hold onto the data and then destroyed.
  4. With regards to liability, what if someone gets the virus by being at the Club?
    It is not possible to get insurance against Covid -19 claims so we recommend a disclaimer accepting risk as part of the declaration form.


Organisational & Training FAQs

  1. Why has Irish Sailing not given more definitive guidelines for clubs?
    The diversity of our sailing, powerboating and windsurfing activities means that there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Organisations need flexibility to base their decision-making relative to their activity, facilities, boats, and equipment, sailing area, conditions etc. This is why we have based our interpretations of the guidelines on the four fundamental principles: compliance with restrictions, personal responsibility, self-help and continued use of your risk assessment.
  2. Do we need a risk assessment for every event or can one risk assessment fit all?
    A regular activity needs one risk assessment based on the normal activity but be aware of any significant change to that activity that may need to be reflected in an update.
  3. How can I launch more than 15 boats in compliance with outdoor gathering restrictions ashore?
    The restriction around the group size of 15 applies only to school aged training groups and please see Question 2 for use of Multiple Pod Guidelines. For your training, we suggest the organisers do the risk assessment and designate specific zones in order maintain as much separation as possible whilst rigging/launching in order to minimise risk.
  4. What age group can we take sailing?
    In Level 5 non-contact training can continue for school aged children, outdoors in pods of 15
  5. Any advice for a group of six 10-year olds?
    In the training environment we accept you are in a pod – for example 6 students and instructor are a pod of 7 and may not be able to social distance. There are times we need to accept they are together particularly while sailing on the boat and manage them apart where possible.  Government have acknowledged that the under 13s are a relatively low risk as spreaders and contractors of the virus.
  6. Could you give some guidelines on powerboat training?
    As with Sailing, non-contact training can continue for school aged children, outdoors in pods of 15. This applies for powerboat training also.
  7. Can we run Instructor Training Courses for our school going children?
    No - all Irish Sailing instructor training activity is suspended during Level 5.