Water Skills Academy COVID 19 Update: 10th July 2020

Please continue to follow Government advice on social distancing and hygiene. We also continue to recommend the WSA COVID Care QA Scheme available to all.  This includes being very aware of the impact on all communities.

Wales (Source – Welsh Gov)

Following the latest 21-day review of the coronavirus regulations, the First Minister has set out a phased timetable to ease restrictions for large parts of Wales’ visitor, hospitality, and leisure and tourism sectors.

Although cases of coronavirus are declining in Wales, the disease has not gone away and everyone has a responsibility to maintain social distancing, good hand hygiene and to respect the places and communities they visit.


From Monday, (13 July) the following will be able to open, subject to following the guidance about coronavirus-safe ways to operate:

  • Hairdressing salons and barbershops, including mobile hairdressers.
  • Pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes outdoors.
  • Outdoor cinemas.
  • Indoor visitor attractions, but a small number of underground visitor attractions will remain closed for the time being because of the higher risks associated with these environments. The Welsh Government will continue to work with these attractions towards safe re-opening.
  • Places of worship. Faith leaders can begin to gradually resume services when they are ready to do so safely.

FAQs: https://gov.wales/coronavirus-regulations-guidance#section-39253

The Welsh Government is also making changes to the regulations to allow larger gatherings of up to 30 people outdoors only where these are organised and supervised by a responsible person for sports and other leisure activities and classes.

England (9th July 2020)

We will update the WSA knowledge bank, please see additional information here.

Scotland (9th July 2020)

Scotland continues with its phased approach and the link below provides information on moving into phase 3.


Northern Ireland (9th July 2020)

The Executive has agreed that elite athletes can commence indoor training on 29 June.

Indicative dates have also been agreed for the following activities:

  • reopening of indoor gyms  – 10 July
  • reopening of outdoor leisure playgrounds  – 10 July
  • competitive sports – 17 July
  • limited numbers of outdoor spectators permitted on 17 July with numbers increased at a later date – 31 July
  • reopening of indoor sports courts and skating rinks – 7 August
  • leisure centres and soft play areas – 7 August
  • socially-distanced indoor spectators permitted – 28 August

Each of the activities listed will remain under review and will be ratified by the Executive ahead of the indicative date, based on the emerging situation.

Return to sport

For further detailed information and sources of advice and assistance visit: The Safe Phased Return of Sport, Leisure and Recreation in Northern Ireland(external link opens in a new window / tab)


Ireland remains ahead of the UK in regards to reducing restrictions, please refer to – 


WSA COVID – 19 Welsh Update 4th June 2020

We have received confirmation this morning that Welsh Government will allow coaching of a ‘household’.

The coach counts as one household, so is therefore able to meet with an unlimited number of people from another household for coaching purposes as long as everyone stays local (5 Miles) and all other guidelines are adhered to.

Only two households can meet, and social distancing must be observed, equipment shouldn’t be shared.

Even though this is a positive development we ask that you check with landowners and consider your social responsibilities.

WSA COVID – 19 Update 29th May 2020

In the last few days we have seen some developments in restrictions for movement and social interaction. We are currently reviewing the updates in relation to guidance on SUP, Surf, Packrafting and coaching / training.  

NB – Please ensure that you continue to ask yourselves, is my journey essential? Will my destination be open? Should I be putting pressure on a the community?

We will be updating this later.

Please use our 10 safety steps  listed below, for guidance.


As of the 1st June, six people from different households are allowed to meet, maintaining strict social distancing.



As of the 1st of June, you can meet another household in your area ‘outside in open air’, travel of up to 5 miles is allowed. ‘Rule of thumb’, social distancing must be maintained.



You can take part in outdoor recreation alone or with members of your household and/or members of 1 other household at a time, providing that physical distancing of at least 2 metres is maintained between the different households at all times.

If people from 2 households are meeting, you should meet in small numbers – no more than 8 people in total at a time. 

You should not meet people from more than 1 other household each day.  

Meeting only in small groups will reduce the risk that outdoor spaces could become crowded and make physical distancing harder to maintain, and meeting no more than 1 household each day will minimise the risk that someone who had the virus without realising it could infect multiple households on the same day.

Meeting outdoors with members of more than 1 other household at a time is not permitted.


N Ireland



Wales Update for WSA Activities – 15th May 2020

We have been holding back on making a statement until we were 100% on information from the fantastic organisations we work with. We feel this is the only way to remain safe and convey correct messages to our members and the community who we have gained further support from over this period.
Following a meeting and update from Welsh Government 13th May and further information we can clarify that ‘Exercise’ is not specified therefore WSA Activities can take place under conditions.

However, the overarching message is STAY AT HOME.

Please be aware that many access points are closed including beach car parks, National Trust and local authority areas.
Working in close contact with the Canal and Rivers Trust we can now confirm that the guidance for Wales has changed: https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/enjoy-the-waterways/safety-on-our-waterways/coronavirus

Please note the current guidance from HM Coastguard as of 15th May 2020 remains the same for Wales: https://www.gov.uk/…/hm-coastguard-asks-everyone-to-take-ex…

We ask that you comply with local restrictions and be very considerate to local communities and follow all government advice.

The current guidance from Welsh Government can be found here: https://gov.wales/leaving-home-exercise-guidance

You can access water for Exercise within walking distance of your home and we recommend starting and finishing at the same point of access.

Can I drive?

Welsh Government guidance states, “The intention is that exercise should be undertaken locally – as close as possible to the home. In general, this should not involve people driving to a location away from home for this purpose. No journeys of any significant distance should be taken, for example, just in order to exercise in the countryside or at beauty spots (many of which are closed in any event to prevent this).” – https://gov.wales/coronavirus-regulations-guidance
Please follow the WSA suggested ten points to stay safe and minimise risk, before considering exercise on the water.

  1. Choose your nearest patrolled beach (PLEASE SEE HM COASTGUARD FOR WALES).

    For those of you planning to paddle in the ocean, please choose to use a beach that is patrolled by RNLI Lifeguards when this begins. The RNLI has announced that they will be providing limited cover for the 2020 season, with only 70 of 240 beaches nationally having cover.

  2. Stick to activities you know.

    Now is not the time to start a new activity such as surfing or paddleboarding, unless you can take lessons from a suitably qualified and experienced instructor. With most surf and SUP schools likely to remain closed for the near future, lessons are not going to be available.

  3. Check the conditions.

    weather and surf forecasts to see if the conditions are appropriate for your skill level. Now is not the time to be challenging yourself in adverse conditions.

  4. Don’t go SOLO!

    Surf/SUP/Paddle with a friend or with someone else maintaining social distancing if safe to do so.

  5. Check your kit.

    Leashes, boards, wetsuits, safety kit. If paddling, carry a drybag if possible. Make sure you have an appropriate comms device – a VHF or at the very least, a mobile phone in a waterproof holder. Check it is charged prior to leaving.

  6. Communicate.

    Let others know where you are going, and your estimated return time. Have a plan and make sure everyone understands it.

  7. Warm up.

    You have been off water for a few weeks. Don’t risk an injury which will keep you out for another long period.

  8. Be kind.

    We are all in this together and having these qualities is good for everyone. Be considerate, be helpful and don’t be selfish.

  9. Respect local communities.

    This is not the time to explore new areas. Stay local and avoid honey-spot areas. If they are busy try paddling outside of peak times. Be mindful of access, egress and pinch spots. Don’t paddle in large groups.

  10. Follow Government guidelines.

    If they say don’t go then don’t go. This is not the time to be a maverick. If we all follow the rules, the quicker we can return to some form of normality.
    Please ensure that your WSA membership is up-to-date, as this includes your insurance and Canal & Rivers Trust License.
    We all have a responsibility to our community, the reputation of the Water Skills Academy and our chosen activities. Please STOP and THINK, is it essential and be aware and considerate to those around you by following government social distancing and hygiene rules.

COVID 19 Statement – 12th May 2020

Water Skills Academy Update following the announcement by the UK Government on the 10th of May and 11th May. In relation to individual members only and not coaching activities.

As you will be aware the lockdown restrictions are being eased in ENGLAND only from Wednesday the 13th of May which will allow some outdoor activities. We have been in contact with the Canal and Rivers Trust, as well as our insurance brokers and their advice is as follows:

Whilst we understand that you are excited about this opportunity, we would ask you to STOP and THINK, is it essential? If you choose to paddle you MUST continue to follow guidelines on social distancing and travel.

Remember that any incident or accident will be putting further risk and pressure on the emergency services and NHS. We would therefore again ask you to STOP and THINK is it essential?

Please be aware that this is for England and that Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have issued their own guidance.

Wales: https://gov.wales/leaving-home-exercise-guidance

Scotland: https://www.gov.scot/collect…/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance/

Northern Ireland: https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/…/new-coronavirus-covid-19-regu…

It remains that other countries follow their own guidelines.

We will continue to update you.

April 20

While we all navigate through uncertain times, we appreciate that renewing memberships isn’t a favourable action for many. We are aware that COVID-19 is greatly impacting the WSA community, but we cannot stress enough the need for continued insurance cover through this time.

With this in mind, coupled with the fact that the majority of income streams have been diminished, we have taken the decision to offer all of our current members extended membership until 1 July 2020, so that their cover and their businesses are not compromised during this time.


March 24

Lifeguarding qualifications extended to support everyone through the COVID-19 outbreak

We are very aware of the challenges that the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak is causing and WSA is committed to supporting all of our members, qualification holders and customers throughout this difficult period.

Whilst the health of our families and communities is at the front of all of our minds, we are also aware that job security and future work planning is also a worrying issue for many people and businesses, especially those working in the leisure and aquatic sector, who are required to remain qualified in order to do their job.

We understand that renewing qualifications and awards is particularly difficult at this time, however it is worth remembering, everyone will need to be qualified in order to get back to work as quickly as possible, as soon as we are able to do so. The following information has been sent to us by SLSGB.

At the moment the RNLI have advised us that they are planning to commence beach patrols at Easter, although this will be finally confirmed at a later date. Many RNLI Lifeguards use our Lifeguard Award as their vocational qualification. The RNLI provide their own operational guidance to their Lifeguards on CPR. Our SLSGB declared patrols must have currently qualified lifeguards to be declared to the Coast Guard. Accordingly, to enable continuity of essential beach safety activity, we have provided a process for those who have used their Lifeguard award in 2019 to follow an evidence-based,self-declaration renewal procedure.

We are being asked about proficiency requirements for renewals of the Surf Coach and safety and Rescue Award in anticipation of Surf Schools starting activity at Easter or soon after. In our opinion, this is a non-essential leisure-related activity. Whilst we have no direct influence over surfing or those who provide surf coaching products, we have decided to leave proficiency as it is so that when recreational beach activity re-starts, you respond.

The length of the extension period will be reviewed, should the COVID-19 restrictions last beyond the revised expiry dates. Please contact SLSBG directly if you wish to apply to have your surf lifeguard qualification extended.

March 17

Dear WSA Community,

As COVID-19 spreads we are taking additional safety measures to protect our trainers and members. The scale of impact is still unknown and we want to do our part to protect our community.

Over the last few weeks, we have been monitoring developments and have now postponed all WSA foreign courses.

As of today (17.3.2020) having worked with and taken advice from our risk management advisors and insurance company, we have made the decision to postpone

ALL WSA Workshops, Training and Assessments until May 2020.