Coronavirus and Irish Sailing

Coronavirus and Irish Sailing

This Newsfeed will be continually updated with all on COVID-19 recommendation updates from Harry Hermon, Chief Executive of Irish Sailing

You can also go to for useful links that could help you personally, your club, centre, class, family or business


UPDATE: Monday 20 April 2020 15.54

Covid-19 Update – Irish Sailing drawing up proposals for a return to sailing when restrictions are lifted

Since the Taoiseach announced full restrictions and closure of clubs and activity centres last month, with the latest update being the continuance of full restrictions until at least May 5th, Irish Sailing has been looking ahead to the process by which we might be in a position to return to the water, and start organising activities once more. The way in which different people access sailing and boating both recreationally and competitively is very varied, and we need to ensure all aspects of the sport are included in any plan to return. We are now working on proposals that will be submitted to Sport Ireland outlining how we might be in a position to adapt our activities in order to remain compliant with restrictions as they are lifted. We will keep you updated.

Harry Hermon, CEO, Irish Sailing


UPDATE: Friday 10 April 2020 17:00 Covid-19 restrictions will be extended

The Taoiseach has announced that the Covid-19 restrictions will be extended for a further three weeks until Tuesday 5 May. Leo Varadkar made the announcement this afternoon following a meeting of the National Public Health Emergency team today.

He thanked the Irish people for their forbearance and sacrifice, in the effort to stop the spread of Covid-19 and also said people are wondering when life will get back to normal but no one knows for certain when that will be, or how our lives will be different. 

All we can do at the moment is take one day at a time and hopefully we’ll be back sailing soon.

Harry Hermon, CEO, Irish Sailing


UPDATE: Saturday 28 March 2020 Government announces “stay at home” measures for two weeks.

Yesterday evening the Taoiseach announced strict measures for people to stay at home for the next two weeks until Easter Sunday. From midnight last night (27 March) we are all asked to stay at home in virtually all circumstances and all public and private gatherings have been banned for two weeks.

The only exceptions to the stay-at-home rule is for travel to health, social care or other essential work, shopping for food and takeaways, medical appointments and for vital family reasons such as providing care. People will also be allowed take “brief, individual” physical exercise within 2km of their home, and farming will continue. The full government statement can be read here

As a result, the Irish Sailing office will now be closed and some of our services will be unavailable. We will all continue to work remotely and are available on email and mobile – our contact list is here:

Read all our Irish Sailing updates here:

Harry Hermon, CEO, Irish Sailing
28 March 2020


UPDATE: Thursday 26 March 2020

During the current restrictions Irish Sailing continue to work and plan so that when sailing commences, we all get up and running as quickly as possible. We’ve outlined some of the changes and areas we’re working on below.


More detailed information of Training arrangements may be found

In order to try and minimise the impact of these restrictions and allow for activities to return to some kind of normal as soon as possible when the situation allows Irish Sailing will be putting the following arrangements in place to ensure Training Centres may resume activities quickly once restrictions are lifted:

Postponed / Cancelled Instructor Courses - Irish Sailing will maintain a record of all currently scheduled instructor courses. Once there is greater clarity around a timescale for the resumption of activity Irish Sailing will work with the respective Instructor Trainer groups to re-schedule course as efficiently as possible.

Senior Instructor Briefings - Senior Instructor briefings will take place, held online if necessary,  to provide information on a return to normal activity for any Senior Instructors requiring re-validation or returning with a lapsed qualification.

Instructor CPD / Revalidation - As it is unlikely to be possible to schedule CPD / Revalidation days ahead of the main sailing season Instructors due to revalidate their qualification during 2020 will be given an extension to the validity of their current qualification to allow them to instruct this summer.

Emergency Care certification requirements - Due to the restricted availability of emergency care training courses the requirement to hold an emergency care certificate for certification of Irish Sailing Instructors will be suspended for newly qualifying instructors. Currently qualified instructors with emergency care certificates which lapse this year will be permitted to continue instructing until they are in a position to revalidate their qualification.

Safeguarding Requirements - Due to the restricted availability of Sport Ireland Safeguarding courses a temporary on line measure for Safeguarding is available.

Senior Instructor Briefings – These will focus on managing courses with regard to the arrangements which have been made for newly qualifying instructors and instructors unable to revalidate. The Senior Instructor briefings will be a requirement for any Senior Instructors requiring re-validation or returning with a lapsed qualification.

Training Centre Inspections - The normal programme of Training Centre inspections for accreditation will be suspended for the 2020 season and replaced by support visits.

Guidance Document - Irish Sailing will be producing a guidance document outlining the arrangements which have been put in place to manage the impact of the current restrictions.

Online resources - Irish Sailing will look at what kind of online resources can be made available to Instructors and Training Centres to assist in preparing for the sailing season during this period of suspended activity.

Sail & Motor Cruising Courses – Some variations to the normal requirements will be permitted to allow cruising schools to resume activities as soon as the situation permits.


Qualifications - As a result of the cancellation of the race officials conference -  the qualifications of those race officials who require revalidation this year will automatically be revalidated.

Other Initiatives - The Race Officials group are currently working on a number of initiatives during the shutdown including a Racing Rules Poster, an eSailing programme, quizzes and competitions. We also continue to work on funding applications, coach development, as well as online courses for umpires.

Events Calendar – We are updating the events calendar ( as events are cancelled/postponed and rescheduled. We ask that clubs and event organisers continue to send in their updates (  


Certificates & Handicaps – We are still able to provide the support services to process applications of ICC’s, Commercial Endorsements, Sail Numbers, Handicaps, Certs of ID, Garda Vetting  etc… and will continue to do so for as long as we can. Please contact  with any queries.


Affiliation and Recognition Fees – Irish Sailing are looking at options for 2020 affiliation and accreditation fees.

Support Resources- See link HERE for further information and supports available to clubs and centres -

Harry Hermon
Chief Executive
26 March 2020


Update Tuesday 24 March 2020: clubs to close, all sporting events cancelled.

In a press conference earlier today (16.00) Taoiseach Leo Varadkar outlined tighter restrictions to tackle the Covid-19 emergency.

In his statement he said that “all sporting events are cancelled including those behind closed doors”. He also stated that from midnight tonight “theatres, clubs, gyms, hairdressers, libraries and other similar outlets are to shut”, and that we should only leave home if essential.

These restrictions will be in place until at least 19th April, and will impact hugely on us all but as ever, the health and safety of the sailing community is of paramount importance. Although the latest advice means that the Irish Sailing office at Park Road is closed to the public, we continue to work remotely, and we’re here to answer any questions you have. Please call us on 01 280 0239.

You can read the full text of the Taoiseach’s speech here:

You can read the HSE guidelines here:

Harry Hermon


UPDATE 15/3/20

Irish Sailing continue to monitor and follow the HSE advice on Covid-19 on a daily basis. As always, the health and safety of our members and the sailing community is of paramount importance. The Government has now asked bars and pubs to close from this evening until 29th March and we would advise that bars in clubs should conform with immediate effect.

Since the guidelines issued by An Taoiseach last Thursday, we have been in discussions with a number of stakeholders from both competitive and training backgrounds, and have concluded that social distancing is not only difficult to achieve on shore from an organisers’ perspective,  but also difficult to achieve at a personal level on the water. For double handers and/or keelboats requiring two or more crew, it is not possible. Even for organised activities involving single handers requiring safety cover (with two people in the safety boat), it is not achievable.

For this reason, Irish Sailing advises that all organised sailing activity should cease with immediate effect and will be reviewed on 29th March. We will continue to monitor Government announcements and update the advice accordingly.

You can read the HSE guidelines here:

Harry Hermon
Chief Executive

15/3/2020 20:00


Update 13 March 2020

Following yesterday’s statement, some questions have been raised around how sailing – both training and competitive events -  can be run in compliance with the current Government advice and the question of whether sailing clubs and commercial training centres should close their doors.

Sailing is an outdoor sport played in open spaces without contact or spectator audiences, and we know that the risk of contracting COVID-19 is low in an outdoor setting.

The challenge for sailing clubs and training centres - as with other sports, is managing people ashore in clubhouses and changing rooms whilst maintaining social distancing protocols.

What is social distancing?

Social distancing aims, through a variety of means, to decrease or interrupt the spread of COVID-19. It does this by minimising contact between potentially infected individuals and healthy individuals.

Social distancing is keeping a 2m (6ft) space between you and other people. You should not shake hands or make close contact where possible.

Suggested measures to adhere to social distancing protocols:

  • Run activities for smaller numbers
  • Close the clubhouse for social functions
  • Stagger changing room access, and/or allocate additional rooms within the building for changing
  • Ask people to arrive and leave changed
  • Briefings and shore based tuition take place outdoors
  • Prize giving cancelled or held only for the prize winners, or done virtually/online

Measures being suggested by other sports


  • All crews should be advised to come to clubs in training gear and return home in their gear. Changing rooms and toilets should be off-limits as much as possible
  • Clubs may want to restrict groups they may feel are at a higher risk of contracting the virus
  • Cloth towels should be removed from toilets/changing rooms; use paper towels


  • Strictly follow the guidelines regarding prevention (wash, cover, avoid and clean).
  • The use of changing facilities and toilets should be off limits as much as possible.
  • Clubs should restrict groups/individuals who are at a higher risk of contracting the virus.
  • We recommend that training should be undertaken outdoors at present. Group training in gyms should be cancelled.


  • Government advice doesn’t impact on training, however, advise all clubs to carefully consider if this is necessary and in line with trying to reduce social interaction.


  • The older age profile of golf club memberships than of the general population must be borne in mind
  • The social aspect of golf clubs should be curtailed, including limiting the potential for the following types of social interaction in accordance with the guidelines as issued today.
  • Social meals for groups in the clubhouse, including at inter-club matches, should be avoided


Update 12 March 2020

Irish Sailing acknowledges that we are not in a position to give expert advice in respect of the Covid 19 threat and that as a minimum, the advice of the HSE should be followed.

The current advice issued today by An Taoiseach effective until 29th March, is for indoor mass gatherings of more than 100 people and outdoor mass gatherings of more than 500 people should be cancelled. Irish Sailing has agreed some precautionary measures for our own events that we feel appropriate, to minimise the risk of infection of those involved in our activities.

In the event that the advice from the Government changes, these measures may be amended accordingly. Irish Sailing organisations are advised to keep themselves updated also. An Taoiseach’s full statement may be read here.

Conference, Awards & AGM

  • The Race Event Management & Support Conf will be rescheduled for the autumn or early 2021. As a result of Irish Sailing postponing this event, the qualifications of those race officials who require revalidation this year will automatically be revalidated.
  • The Club Symposium is cancelled and will not be rescheduled this year.
  • The Training Conf for this year is cancelled, however the Checklick Webinar as was planned during the conference will go ahead as normal. Please register here if you have not already done so.
  • For the AGM we need a quorum of 5 Clubs present. In view of the fact there is no vote of the members to be taken at the AGM and as such is an administrative exercise, Irish Sailing’s AGM will go ahead as planned.
  • The Irish Sailing Awards will be run virtually: shots with prize winners and VIP presenters, and then posting these at the scheduled time of the Awards through a series of Social media/news articles. The rest of the prizes will be sent by post.

Other Public meetings and onshore training events

In light of the need for people to congregate in potentially confined spaces, Irish Sailing is cancelling its current scheduled Safeguarding, Race Official & Inclusion Training Courses until the 29th March.

Sailing events organised by Irish Sailing

The following are precautions being taken by Irish Sailing in the organisation of our own events which may be used to inform other event organisers on their decisions as they feel appropriate.

We are fortunate in Sailing that we are a sport that takes part in outdoor spaces on the water, where there is no contact between competitors and there are no spectators or crowds to consider. For this reason, the risk of infection while participating in sailing activities is minimal. It will be up to competitors to decide whether they participate.

We will however need to consider how we organise race management and activities ashore during events (social events, briefings, changing, prizegiving’s etc).

This position will be reviewed again on Sunday 29th March, unless direct advice from HSE is issued in the meantime necessitating a change.

Senior Instructor Courses

Senior Instructor Courses currently scheduled will continue to run on the basis that much of the training takes place on the water with the advice that people should attend if:

  • they feel comfortable,
  • know and/or trust the others on the course to declare if they are at risk or have come from an affected area
  • the shore-based sessions are conducted with separation between the pupils
  • other personal sanitary precautions to protect against the virus are applied.

We would hope that other instructor courses scheduled will continue to be run on the same basis.

As a result of limitations on the availability of first aid courses, the requirement for first aid training for newly qualified, revalidations and upskilling instructors in 2020 is waived, however this must be rectified for 2021 if the qualification is to remain valid.

Irish Sailing Office/Services

Irish Sailing’s offices in Park road will remain fully operational and services available online, by phone and email. In order to minimise the risk of staff becoming infected - with the exception of deliveries, the office will be closed to visits from the public with effect 16/03/20.

We apologise for any inconvenience caused, and hope that with everyone’s cooperation the threat will be contained soon, so we can all enjoy the summers sailing this year.

Harry Hermon 
Chief Executive
Irish Sailing
12  March 2020


Update 10th March 2020

Last night the Government recommended the cancellation of all St Patricks Day parades, and this morning An Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has upgraded travel advice for Irish citizens recommending against travel to the whole of Italy.

In addition, he stated that the Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan was due to meet with his team today to consider more detailed advice around public gatherings, including seminars and sporting events, and he expected further recommendations to be issued very shortly.

At this moment in time, there are still no restrictions recommended by government that affect scheduled meetings or sailing events in Ireland from taking place. Irish Sailing will continue to monitor the advice and communicate any further updates accordingly.  

Again, we recommend you keep track of current advice here:

RTE are also a reliable source of updates on their website following any change in HSE advice:

Harry Hermon 
Chief Executive
Irish Sailing
10  March 2020 13:30


6 March 2020

There is much conflicting opinion and advice circulating, which makes it difficult for planning any events in the future. We are following the HSE advice which at this moment in time, does not prohibit public gatherings or impose travel restrictions (other than to China and Northern Italy). Thus until further advice is issued, we will assume that all events are able to go ahead as scheduled.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said the Government is not recommending that "at this stage" any planned large gatherings are canceled.

He also appealed for people not to take unilateral action when it comes to closing schools or canceling events.

Should the position escalate and we feel that any updated advice will necessitate restrictions on sailing events in Ireland, we will send out a notice through our Newsletter.

The HSE site to keep track of is:

RTE are also a reliable source of updates on their website following any change in HSE advice:

Harry Hermon 
Chief Executive
Irish Sailing
6 March 2020 16:42

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