Coronavirus advice from the VSKC Committee (24 June)

The Victorian government has announced further changes to the restrictions, which took effect from 22 June.

As we have just seen, tighter restrictions may be imposed at short notice.[1]   

The restrictions imposed by the Victorian government may continue to change quickly and this advice from the VSKC Committee will not necessarily have the most up-to-date information.

All paddlers on club trips should familiarise themselves with and always act in accordance with the latest COVID-19 advice from the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and any federal, state or local government recommendations or requirements that are applicable. 

For more information and advice about COVID-19 please see the state and federal websites: www.dhhs.vic.gov.au, www.health.gov.au

Current restriction levels for club paddles and training are described below.

Summary of restrictions

  • Up to 10 people can participate in outdoor group sport and exercise activities, provided you can keep your distance (at least 1.5 metres apart).[2]

Travel

  • There is no restriction on the distance you can travel.
  • Camping is allowed and communal facilities including kitchens and showers can now open.[3]
  • Refer to current advice when planning overnight stays.

 Can I have passengers in my car?

  • You should avoid carrying passengers in your car, unless they live in your household.
  • If you do need to carry passengers in your car, you should frequently clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces.[4]

Rolling practice in swimming pools.

  • Currently due to the restrictions on numbers in the swimming pool and limited opening hours, pool rolling sessions are not available.

Training

  • Currently, you can participate in training but it must be non-contact. Participants must remain at least 1.5 metres apart.

As these restrictions change, please expect further updates from the VSKC Committee.
 

THE VSKC COMMITTEE'S COVID-19 TRIP GUIDELINES FOR MEMBERS

The guidelines in this document are drawn from the DHHS, Paddle Australia and the VSKC Committee as they apply to the VSKC trips and training. Members are expected to abide by these guidelines.

When not to attend club trips
Please do not attend VSKC events if you fall into one of the following categories:

In the event you, or someone you have had contact with is diagnosed with COVID-19 and you have participated in VSKC events in the past 14 days, we ask that you alert the VSKC Committee so that we can seek advice and take appropriate measures within our VSKC community.

Paddle Australia also advises:

  • Paddlers who are unwell, symptomatic, who have returned to Australia within the last 14 days, or who have been exposed to anyone that has COVID-19 within the last 14 days should not attend events or club premises and should seek medical advice.
  • Paddlers with pre-existing medical conditions that are known to be impacted by COVID-19 should not attend events or club premises until further notice.

Participating in club trips
The VSKC aims to cultivate sea kayaking as an enjoyable adventure – inclusive, safe and sustainable.

The current pandemic has added a further risk to sea kayaking. These guidelines aim to reduce the risk to club members. The easing of restrictions does not indicate that the COVID-19 pandemic is over. There is plenty of information available on the dangers of contracting COVID-19, the ease of transmission, and the fact that infected people can be asymptomatic. This means that paddlers might attend a trip in good faith but be asymptomatic and therefore unwittingly infectious.

Each paddler needs to make a decision about whether to attend a trip. Each individual is responsible for assessing the risk to them of contracting COVID-19 and the risk that they may be infectious and pass it on to another club member. Each paddler is responsible for managing their personal measures to prevent exposure to COVID-19. Each paddler who chooses to attend a VSKC paddle accepts the risk of contracting COVID-19.

We endorse this guidance from Paddle Australia for club and individual paddlers:

  • Exercise common sense. As well ensuring you remain healthy, you have an obligation to do nothing to increase the likelihood of the spread of COVID-19 amongst the broader Australian community.
  • Paddle within your abilities. Preferably paddle on sheltered waters where you can self-rescue in case of an emergency. Unless you are an experienced and competent paddler, do not paddle on the ocean.
  • Ensure you always comply with current social distancing and health and hygiene guidelines when both ashore and afloat and when travelling to and from the venue.

Health, physical distancing and hygiene measures

  • Greet people with a smile or wave – don’t shake hands, hug or kiss as a greeting.
  • Stay 1.5 metres away from people you don’t live with.[5]

Stay healthy – practise good hygiene
Good hygiene is critical for slowing the spread of COVID-19. Everyone should be taking the following hygiene actions:

Wash your hands

  • Wash your hands regularly with for at least 20 seconds, using soap and water or use a hand sanitiser that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.
  • Wash your hands when you get home, arrive at other people’s homes, at venues or at work.
  • Wash your hands after blowing your nose, coughing, sneezing, or using the toilet.

Don’t cough or sneeze into your hands

  • Cover your nose or mouth with a tissue, then throw it away and wash your hands.
  • If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow or upper sleeve.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Do not share drink bottles, glasses, crockery or cutlery other than with people you live with.[6]

Stay home if you are sick

  • If you feel unwell, even if you have tested negative for coronavirus, you should stay at home until completely well and it has been 3 days (72 hours) since your last fever (if you had a high temperature or fever).
  • If you have the symptoms of coronavirus you should get tested. 
  • You can find information on getting tested for coronavirus here.[7]

Registering for club trips
Paddlers must contact trip leaders before attending any club trip, to indicate their interest in attending. This applies to all club trips, even those regular trips that are less formal, such as the Saturday morning Red Eye or the monthly Canadian Bay paddle. This is required to ensure group size limits and, in the event that a paddler is subsequently found to have COVID-19, notify other paddlers who attended that trip.

Where the weather and sea conditions are less suitable for less experienced paddlers, trip leaders may advise the paddler that the trip is not appropriate for them. This is to reduce the need for assisted rescues, which are difficult to carry out while maintaining physical distancing. This is an unfortunate consequence of the coronavirus pandemic. Normally the club encourages paddlers to challenge themselves where rescues can be managed safely.

Travelling to the launch location

  • Where possible driving with passengers outside your household should be avoided.
  • When arriving at the launch location by car, park a suitable distance from other paddlers’ cars to maintain physical distancing.
  • Paddlers should bring hand sanitiser and any personal protective equipment (PPE) for their own use and keep this readily accessible.
  • Hand sanitise on arrival.

Getting boats off cars and to the water

  • Any paddler, before and after assisting another paddler to carry their kayak to or from the water, should use hand sanitiser. Avoid handling other equipment belonging to other members.
  • Kayaks should be spaced at the launch point sufficiently apart to allow physical distancing of at least 1.5m between paddlers.

Trip waiver
Members should consider how they intend to sign the pre-trip waiver form while maintaining hygiene precautions. For example, a trip member can:

  • indicate in an email to the trip leader that they consent to the trip waiver.
  • print the trip waiver at home and sign it at home and pass it to the trip leader.
  • bring their own pen to use to sign the trip waiver and hand sanitise before and after signing.

Pre-launch briefing and post-paddle debriefs

  • Ensure physical distancing from other participants of at least 1.5m.

Launching, paddling and coming off the water

  • Paddlers should maintain physical distancing of at least 1.5m.
  • Use of shared sporting equipment should be minimised and there should be no sharing of equipment that touches the face or head (e.g. helmets, goggles or masks).[8]

Post paddle socialising
Currently, you can attend public gatherings of no more than 10 people.[9]

VSKC insurance
The VSKC’s insurance cover does not extend to any losses that specifically arise in relation in relation to any COVID-19 related illnesses or events. Our best protection is to abide by government requirements and directions.