Today marks exactly one month since our Prime Minister called for Hotels, Restaurants and Clubs to close and also placed restrictions on the use of boats and other services that we all enjoy. It remains a difficult period with many uncertainties and ever changing restrictions being applied, but fortunately the growing list of restrictions have slowed down and there is now some clarity about the access and use of vessels at the Club. To summarise the current situation, I have put the most frequently asked questions into a Q&A format below.
There are some very encouraging signs that the measures that have been put in place in Australia are working well and indications are that restrictions will slowly be eased providing that everyone does the right thing and statistics keep improving. However, it is not the time for complacency and it is really important that we abide by the rules until restrictions are gradually and formally lifted.
Q. Can I use my boat?
A. Yes. Providing it is for essential reasons. Examples of reasons whereby you can use your vessel include if you require your boat to travel to and from home/ work, require it to source groceries and other essential services, or if it is for exercise. Sailing, fishing and paddling are all considered valid forms of exercise and are therefore allowed providing that social distancing rules are met both on the boat as well as at the marina, hardstand, boat ramp, etc. Transport for NSW does not consider general boating for recreational purposes as a reasonable excuse to be out on the water, therefore you must be able to satisfy the ‘essential reason’ requirement.
Q. Can I arrange a ‘non-official’ event with a number of other boats?
A. Unfortunately the answer to this question is ‘No’. Australian Sailing were advised by Transport for NSW that a group of sailors participating in a non-official event were cautioned last weekend, as too was their Club. Potential fines to individuals and the Club are significant, so please do not risk either the infringement or bringing the Club into disrepute.
Q. Can I come down to the Club to check on my boat, work on my boat or have repairs and servicing carried out?
A. Yes. You can access your vessel at the marina or mooring to check on systems and make sure that it is safe and compliant. You are also allowed to take your vessel (by road or water) to a marina or boatyard for repairs and services and likewise return it home or to its mooring or marina. I would also draw your attention to our free ‘Boat Check’ service that our Waterfront team are happy to carry out if you are self-isolating or if you are unable to get to the Club. Many boat owners have taken up this option and we are happy to assist. Details can be found in the newsletter.
Q. Can I go away on my boat/ stay overnight on mooring?
A. No. Unfortunately, this is not permitted. This kind of activity is not recognised as essential and we have been warned by authorities that fines will be issued. I appreciate that this activity is important to many of our members and we are working closely with both the Boating Industry Association and Marina Industry Association on this issue as they have the ear of government.
Q. Is the Club’s tender service still operating?
A. Yes. The tender is still available 7 days a week. Social distancing, limited numbers of passengers and disinfecting the vessel between trips are now required. Please observe the instructions of the skipper of the tender.
Q. Is the Boatyard still operating?
A. Yes. The boatyard is still operating as per normal at this stage and has remained quite busy, however bookings have dropped off somewhat. I imagine that coming out of restrictions there will be a rush by members to get their boats into shape and would encourage you to look after your boats now to avoid potential delays later in the year. Our team and our valued tenants are ready and waiting for you.
Q. Can I get food and drink at the Club?
A. Yes. We have a ‘take away’ facility open in Halyards. This service is open 7 days and details of what is on offer can be found in the newsletter and on our website. We have fresh and frozen meals available that have been created by our chefs as well as some pantry items. Beverages are also available. Please support this initiative.
Q. When can I go racing again?
A. Unfortunately this is an unknown. Following our final pointscore race on Saturday 21 March 2020, I announced that we would be suspending racing until the end of April and that I would notify further at that time. With the end of April looming and the unlikely lifting of sporting restrictions in the immediate future I would think that the suspension will continue throughout May and possibly beyond. We want to get you back out there as soon as it is possible and safe to do so. In the meantime, we do have virtual racing taking place on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Please see details in the newsletter if you would like to be involved.
Over the past few weeks there has been a significant number of meetings held to review the Club’s position during this time. Various scenarios have been considered and a great deal of work carried out as to the financial positional and operational aspects of our Club. This has been a difficult and demanding challenge with changing government legislations and stimulus packages that have had quickly evolving detail. I would like to recognise our Finance Manager Pam Stevens and Admin/ HR Manager Pip Lodder for their efforts. I would also like to acknowledge the assistance and guidance of Vice Commodore Ron Palmer throughout this process. Thank you Ron.
In closing I would like to thank members for their support and also their concerns for the welfare of our staff over this time. As you would be aware our casual staff in hospitality, sail training and waterfront have been stood down. Our permanent staff are busy catching up on race programs, training manuals, updating policy documents and the like while admin and accounting staff are finalising year end accounts, preparing for the annual audit and membership renewals. Staff will also be reducing leave liabilities over coming months and also focusing on a number of projects that we have listed. More details on this next week.
Please look after yourself and those around you. If we can be of any assistance please do not hesitate to contact the Club.