After intense lobbying from the dive industry, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) is withdrawing its guidance preventing the use of charter boats and club dive boats in England from 4 July.
On Thursday 11 June, as reported by Scuba Diver, DEFRA published guidance on inland and coastal boating on behalf of the UK government. This prevented the use of charter boats and constricted privately-owned and club boats to one household unit or support bubble per vessel.
Following challenges and lobbying from various industry bodies including BSAC, SITA, RYA, the Angling Trust and charter skippers’ representatives, DEFRA has today given notice that they are withdrawing their guidance on ‘Using a boat inland and on the coast’ from 4 July.
This means that divers can now dive from a charter boat or club RIB with up to six members of different households as long as social distancing is maintained. Social distancing outdoors remains at two metres unless that is not possible to maintain at all times, where the safe distance can be reduced to one meter providing additional precautions are taken to reduce risk to the equivalent to two metres, or better.
BSAC CEO Mary Tetley said: “We are all delighted that this change has been acknowledged by DEFRA. Working together with all of the other agencies has only strengthened our lobbying on conflicting advice.”