15 July 2020

This update addresses the issue of observers in the boat and the combination of households in the context of our sport.   First of all a word though of appreciation to everyone who has been part of our safe and successful return to the water with no outside party, to our knowledge, raising any issues in terms of COVID-19 compliance against the sport . . . 


Our previous advice recommends against the use of observers in boats. This was where the rules relating to business operation did not permit, or the observer was not in the same household. Since then social distancing has been redefined as "2m apart or 1m plus" which is one metre plus mitigations. These mitigations will depend on the particular setting. Mitigations could include installing screens, making sure people face away from each other, putting up hand washing facilities, minimising the amount of time you spend with people outside your household or being outdoors. Face masks are also a mitigation. Everyone is required to take reasonable steps to reduce the risk of transmission.

Each operator will best be able to assess whether they can sensibly achieve compliance by members, customers and participants with the above in the use of an observer. It is our view that if an observer is to be in a boat socially distanced, then face masks are recommended and interaction should be non-social and kept to the minimum necessary. In the case of trick release and jumping, where there are particular safety reasons to have an observer, then an observer is likely to be the most sensible way forward and clearly so if there are insurance related reasons that would otherwise prevent or inhibit operation. Also in a strictly controlled competition setting, when competitions are next permitted, a judge will of course be necessary. Where there is no such strong reason and operators have previously routinely operated without observers it is not our current recommendation to have an observer. However, that is a judgement call and we appreciate some operators may feel they can operate sensibly on this basis.


We have been asked whether going waterskiing with friends is permitted. This has to be read in the light of the general non watersport specific guidance that, as people will know, permits two or more households to combine or multiple households to combine, up to a total meeting of six people whilst maintaining social distancing between households. It is simply not possible to be too prescriptive here. As the guidance indicates the above combinations are permissible but given the space constraints of a boat we cannot recommend more than two people in the boat at any one time taking into account the measures referred to above, in relation to observers, in terms of social distancing (and we have stated our reservations where this is not strictly necessary). Clearly that still allows, for example, two households to meet up for a day's waterskiing / enjoyment in a manner that allows social distancing to be observed and limited combined use of the boat.

We are happy to answer specific enquiries of this sort. If they could be emailed to Patrick@bwsf.co.uk we will get back as soon as reasonably practicable.