The COVID-19 lockdown that went into place in the U.K. late last week will make it tough to go diving, but not impossible as long as certain precautions are taken.
The British Diving Safety Group’s COVID-19 team had a virtual meeting last week to discuss the restrictions that began at midnight on November 5th.
The BDSG’s guidance for diving in England includes:
• Stay at home, except for specific purposes
• Avoid meeting people you do not live with, except for specific purposes
• Close certain businesses and venues
These new measures are meant to reduce the growth rate of the virus, the BDSG said, which will:
• Prevent the NHS from being overwhelmed
• Ensure schools, colleges and universities can stay open
• Ensure that as many people as possible can continue to work
According to a BDSG spokesman:
“The Government Guidelines state ‘you may spend time or exercise outdoors – this should be done locally where possible, but you can travel to do so if necessary.’
“This could include traveling to a public beach, where it may be possible to shore dive with one other person.
“It will be very difficult to carry out training under the current guidelines, but it is not explicitly banned. Anyone carrying out commercial training will need to ensure they comply, as normal, with the HSE Diving at Work regulations. They must also comply with the COVID-19 guidance as well. If you are going to dive, be cautious, be safe – make a responsible decision and consider the implications of your actions.”
RNLI Head of Water Safety Gareth Morrison said:
“No one heads to the coast or out on the water with the mindset of needing to be rescued, yet we undertake thousands of rescues each year.
“Our volunteer lifeboat crews have continued to operate throughout the pandemic and remain on call 24/7 to respond to emergencies. But anyone going on or in the water must understand the risks and take the necessary steps to keep themselves as safe as possible. During the pandemic, we must all take reasonable precautions to reduce the demands on RNLI and independent lifeboat crews, HM Coastguard, and other emergency services. In an emergency though, please call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.”
With all that in mind, the BDSG said it would be “unable to provide tailored advice that covers everyone’s individual diving plans.”
For more info on the lockdown in England, click here.