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 5 jUNE 1730hrs.

Phase 3 Personal FAQs

  1. What can I do in this Phase that I couldn’t do in Phase 2?
    So, Sport is Back, we can now race, cruise and train, but with adaptations. We can travel and sail anywhere in or around the island of Ireland. Club Catering Facilities are open if meals available. Phase 4 doesn’t see much change, so we are seeing Phase 3 as how we will be operating for the foreseeable future.

  2. How can we sail and keep two metres social distance?
    In Phase 3 the Government, NPHET  and Sport Ireland are permitting Contact Sport to go ahead and accept that it may not always be possible to keep two metres social distance. By introducing the ‘Pod’ system, the Distance –Activity –Time –Environment (‘DATE’) model and applying this to the updated Phase 3 Risk Assessment, along with all other protocols such as the Health Declaration and Contact Tracing system, sailing together will be possible.

  3. What is a Pod?
    A ‘pod’ is a group of 2 or more household units involved in an activity together where social distancing may not be possible e.g. Boat Crew, Training Group (incl. coach or instructor), Committee boat/race management crew or Safety Boat Crew. Key points of a Pod are:
    ~ Although there is no limit on numbers, pod size should be kept to a minimum. The smaller the pod, the lower the risk.
    ~ People within the pod should maintain social distancing where possible
    ~ Pods should remain together for a minimum amount of time
    ~ People within the pod should change position as much as possible to minimize the time spent in close proximity to another member of the pod
    ~ 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
    ~ People from different pods should not mix with people from another pod.

  4. Can pods mix? Can an instructor move from one pod to another?
    Keep it to a minimum and record any mixing

  5. Do I have to wear a mask?
    The Sport Ireland medical team have advised that the wearing of facemasks while sailing and worn over a long period of time in a wet environment do little to mitigate risk to sailors – duration of the activity, positioning in the boat, slipstream effect etc. are more important elements to consider.

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Phase 3 Racing FAQs

  1. Will the 14-day quarantine for overseas visitors be over soon?
    The possibility of Air Bridges / linking with Green Countries that have the Virus under control will be ratified by the Government for the 9th of July. It is unlikely the UK will be in that category currently.

  2. When will cross channel racing become feasible? (ISORA).
    It is fine if you don’t get off your boat, as 14-day quarantine measures are still in place. There is also a restriction on foreign boats visiting Irish harbours and marinas currently still in place.

  3. Will there be a guide around target race times?
    There is no one-size-fits-all (dinghy racing vs offshore racing). If you can reduce your race times or come ashore between races to reduce the risk then do, and if you can’t then do what you can to mitigate risk. There will be no overall guide, but we can offer personal advice.

  4. Any advice for boat taxis in clubs bringing different people to their different boats?
    Careful positioning of the driver and people on boats. Perhaps the launch driver wears a face mask with a restricted zone around tiller. Bringing out skippers to their boats who then come in for their own crew has worked well for some Clubs.

  5. Do we need a Risk Assessment for every evening event or can one Risk Assessment fit all?
    A regular activity would have 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.

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Phase 3 Organisational FAQs

  1. Any ideas for contact tracing?
    This Covid 19 contact tracing system currently being used by one of our clubs may be of interest HERE .

  2. Can we use our CCTV recordings for Contact Tracing?
    No – contact tracing must be completed digitally so that the data may be shared immediately with the Public Health Nurse and NPHET – sample form above.

  3. Any advice for 6 x 10-year olds together?
    In the training environment we accept you are in a pod – for example 6 students and instructor as a pod of 7 may not be able to social distance. There are times we need to accept they are together, particularly while sailing on the boat, but manage them apart where possible.  Government have acknowledged that the under 13s are relatively low-risk as spreaders and contractors of the virus.

  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.

  5. Will the Government funding trickle to the local clubs?
    Sport Ireland will be managing the Club Resilience Fund and the Club Restart Fund though each NGB and LSP. Details of the process are due within the next couple of weeks. You’ll find a useful link HERE.

  6. Should we change our activities and club racing to more favourable weather conditions?
    We are still operating on the 4 key principles which are:
                1. Compliance
                2. Personal Responsibility
                3. Risk Assessment
                4. Self Help
    Perhaps you could think about shorter races. Venues and skippers need to work out ways to reduce the risk in their own environment and each club does their own risk assessment and put in litigation measures accordingly. Irish Sailing cannot be prescriptive so each club should review their own situation and each boat owner take personal responsibility.

  7. Have any other sailing clubs closed their facilities?
    ... Some club houses have been closed since Phase 1. Sailors arrive changed and ready to go, or change in the dinghy park with no access to changing facilities or toilet, but have one isolation room on standby.
    ... Some Clubs have their showers and general toilets closed but have kept their changing rooms (with limited numbers). There is also an incident room and isolation room available if required with one or two toilets available as needed.
    ... Every centre has to assess their needs based on their own governance and systems in place. We recommend you encourage people to arrive changed to sail, change outdoors and shower at home.

  8. Can we have a shower?
    Swim Ireland have protocols HERE and have approved the opening of their changing rooms and showers as of the 29th of June using the following recommendations:

    ... Individuals have a personal responsibility as does the operator when using facilities.  The management of occupancy levels and reviewing both the hygiene and cleaning regimes are important. The requirements for social distancing need to be considered which will include a consideration of the size, style (‘village style’, group change etc) as well as the layout of changing rooms to determine changing room capacities, enabling social distancing to be respected by customers/members/sailors and time allocated for cleaning. To mitigate the effect of this, facilities may want to consider a ‘beach style turn up and sail’ option to minimise time spent in the changing rooms or allow access straight to the activity.
    •            provide washing facilities and hand sanitizer at the showers
    •            consider hygiene arrangements to limit surface contamination in cubicles and lockers
    •            consider floor stickers/markings indicating current social distancing requirements in open-plan single-sex changing rooms and shower areas
    •            establish occupancy levels to assist social distancing arrangements
    •            implement effective cleaning regimes, paying particular attention to touch points.

  9. Can you please give guidance on the selling of alcohol?
    Failte Ireland have issued their Guidelines but alcohol may be sold with a substantial meal (more that €9per person), with a table service format lasting no more than 105 minutes and safe protocols in place.

  10. How long do we keep records from a GDPR perspective?
    As per GDPR and HSE Guidelines You should 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 would be a reasonable time to hold on to the data and then destroy it.

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Phase 3 Training FAQs

  1. Can we now take complete beginners?
    Yes, it is possible, we have a guidance document. Minimising contact time, shorter sessions etc.
    Full day courses are now more feasible with the pod system as this mitigates some of the contact required.
    Consider lunch breaks, food, need for toilets, lunch time entertainment.

  2. Can we now run theory classes in the classroom?
    Yes, but keep as much physical distance as reasonably possible, minimise your contact and time that you are indoors. Keep in pods and ensure the room is well ventilated.

  3. Could you give some guidelines on powerboat training?
    Apply the pod concept. 3 participants/ 1 instructor. If boats are small perhaps reduce numbers. If you are unable to maintain social distancing, perhaps reduce time together on the boat. Some people are using face coverings such as a snood, but if they are wet and being touched a lot, they are not effective (see Mouth Coverings Question above). Have hand sanitising regularly instead of wiping down.

  4. Can we have 2 people from separate households in a safety boat?
    Yes, keep a record. They are a pod.

  5. Is it safe to operate multiples of the 15:1 grouping?
    We recommend you use the established training ratios of for example 1:6 or 1:8 with an assistant - we recommend they are seen as a pod. It is possible to have a number of Pods operating at the same time once keeping appropriate distance.

  6. Can we issue Irish Sailing Certificates?
    Yes – there is nothing stopping certification if you can cover the syllabus. If not possible then encourage the development of skills and use Irish Sailing Passport to track those skills and experience.

  7. Would it be ok for instructors that are not qualified to teach advanced courses?
    This is not advised as it will not be best practice and they will not be qualified to deliver that level. The people training need to be competent and qualified at that level.

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