Paddle Tasmania COVID-19 Return to Paddling Guidelines

Version 4– Issued 28 June 2020


Sport and active recreation and exercise play an important role in community development, connectiveness, and physical and mental health. Paddlers have been fortunate that solo (or appropriately physically distanced small group paddling), as regular exercise, has been permitted in Tasmania throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic, and we know many paddlers have continued paddling to maintain both their mental and physical health during this time.

However, our usual paddling activities have still been restricted in many ways and the Board of Paddle Tasmania (PT) is committed to clubs and members being able to resume normal paddling activities safely, as soon as possible in 2020.

To help us get back towards normal paddling activities in accordance with the State Government’s directions, we have been liaising with the Communities, Sport & Recreation and utilising the AIS Framework for Rebooting Sport in a COVID-19 Environment principles, and Paddle Australia’s (PA’s) Guidelines to Paddle Clubs to develop PT’s Return to Paddling Guidelines (the Guidelines).

Following more than a month of no new cases and the encouraging public response to COVID-19 restrictions in Tasmania, the Premier, Peter Gutwein, announced on 24 June 2020 that Stage 3 of Tasmania’s Roadmap to Recovery would be brought forward with further easing of restrictions from noon 26 June 2020.

From Noon Friday 26 July 2020

Sporting activities are permitted based on Level C of the AIS Framework for Rebooting Sport, meaning the following are permitted:

  • full contact training;
  • full competition sport (contact and non-contact);
  • sharing of equipment where necessary; and
  • use of change rooms and other shared facilities.

However, the following should be considered in all activities

  • Larger teams should consider maintaining some small group separation at training and non-essential social gatherings should be limited.
  • Gathering limits and the requirement to maintain physical distancing where practical applies to all sports, exercise and recreation.
  • Good hygiene practices should continue including offering hand sanitiser at the paddling venue
  • Minimise use of shared equipment and facilities
  • Ensure frequent environmental disinfection and cleaning of shared club premises or equipment
  • Minimise unnecessary co-mingling before, during and after paddling
  • Continue with distancing signage/markings and record keeping to support tracing in the event of new cases arising.

Additional extracts from Tasmanian Government Stage 3 Provisions

Gatherings are limited to 500 people (including athletes and support staff) in an undivided space outdoors for community sport and 250 for an undivided space in an indoor premises, or a maximum of one person per 2 square metres under the density limit, whichever is less.

Indoor pools are limited to 250 people (including athletes and support staff) in each single undivided space, or a maximum of one person per 2 square metres under the density limit, whichever is less. Outdoor pools are limited to 500 people (including athletes and support staff) in each single undivided space, or a maximum of one person per 2 square metres under the density limit, whichever is less.

All people in any single undivided space count towards the maximum number of people permitted. For example, spectators at a pool, athletes and coaches, and canteen staff at a sporting facility are all counted within the maximum number of people permitted in that space.

For sporting and recreation facilities with multiple indoor or outdoor spaces, the gathering cap applies separately to each single undivided space. For example, a multi-purpose sporting venue with multiple, separate, undivided indoor spaces, could have up to 250 people in each of these spaces (the density limit applies).

Sporting and gym facilities must ensure there is at least one staff member or other authorised person present to supervise the premises at all times while it is being used (creation and maintenance of a record is recommended).

As the COVID-19 situation is dynamic these Guidelines will continue to evolve as required, relying on updated direction by relevant authorities. PT will update this guide as needed and state the date of when the document was last updated and version number in the footer of the document.

In the event there are changes which may have a material impact on club COVID-19 plans, PT will highlight these changes in a summary document/email and distribute to the members and member clubs via email and by updating the relevant information on the PT website.

Clubs must implement the provisions of this plan with any modifications and enhancements necessary to meet the particular circumstances of their club or their club’s activities.

In addition to general hygiene advice the Return to Paddling Guidelines will cover advice on movement of people in and out of paddling facilities, paddling activities, use of equipment and communication as they relate to the current restriction level. A revised set of guidelines will be issued once we enter another restrictions stage.

General Information

AIS Framework Level C Activities for Paddling

Communication of AIS Guidelines

AIS Guidelines and the PA Guidelines and checklists and posters have previously been emailed directly to Club Presidents/Commodores in the first instance and to other club officials and are available prominently on the Paddle Australia website.

Appendix A to the PA Guidelines for Paddle Clubs is adopted by PT and forms Appendix A to these Guidelines and should be read in conjunction with the additional advice below. Paddle Safe Posters previously distributed should continue to be displayed where possible.

Precautionary Principle

Although Tasmania has been free of COVID-19 cases for over a month this could change at any time due to people travelling to the state or undetected cases resulting in transmission. For this reason, a high degree of caution is still essential and the following measures should apply.

General hygiene measures (Full detail is in Appendix A)

  • Whilst sharing of equipment is permitted it is still discouraged, especially paddles, kayaks, training equipment, and paddling gear
  • All equipment should be wiped down with sanitiser at the end of each training session.
  • Social distancing rules should apply to paddling activities where possible, both on and off the water – paddlers should where possible stay at least 1.5m from each other on water and non-essential contact is discouraged.

Personal hygiene (Full detail is in Appendix A)

For any group paddling training activity good personal hygiene should apply.

  • Shower at home prior to training and wear clean clothing and paddling gear.
  • Shower at home after training and wash clothing to reduce transmission risks.
  • Wash/Sanitise your hands before and after each paddling activity.
  • Do not share drink bottles, food, clothing, towels etc.
  • Have your name clearly visible on your equipment and drink bottle to avoid others accidentally handling your property.
  • Although public showers at pools and other facilities may be used the general principle is that if you don’t need to use them, don’t use them.

Paddling Activities (Full detail is in Appendix A)

  • Full training and competition permitted including full contact Canoe Polo training and competition and full-contact pool training and other rescue training.
  • Outdoors – Maximum of 500 people (including athletes and support staff) in an undivided space
  • Indoors – Maximum of 250 people for an undivided space, or a maximum of one person per 2 square metres under the 250 density limit, whichever is less.
  • Full use of Club and other sporting facilities whilst maintaining Level B hygiene requirements (refer Appendix A)

Equipment (Full detail is in Appendix A)

  • Sharing of paddling equipment such as paddles, helmets, lifejackets/PFDs and spray-decks is strongly discouraged.
  • If equipment is shared, suitable cleaning/disinfecting must occur between each user.
  • Canoe polo balls and goals should be cleaned and disinfected following use and prior to being used again.
  • Wash equipment (such as canoe polo balls, goals, ropes, straps etc) in the cleaning mixture, leaving the gear in or the mixture on for at least ten minutes, before rinsing and drying
  • Wipe down boat hand-holds and cockpit and surrounds or other areas contacted by other people (e.g. someone helps you get your boat off your car) with disinfectant wipes
  • Use products that are antiviral, meaning it can kill the virus, such as chlorine-based disinfectants or freshly made diluted bleach solution in accordance with Department of Health guidelines available on the link provided on page 2 of this document
  • Always follow the manufacturers guidelines for the correct mixture when working with chemicals.


Under AIS Framework and PA Guidelines spectators should be separated from paddlers when they are on land and the 1.5m physical distancing rule still applies.

Movement in and out of Paddling venues

Wherever physically possible entry and exit to club houses, boat/gear storage facilities etc should be separate with clear social distancing markings and signage displaying the key information relating to resumption of activities. Practice One in – One out where possible.

Hand sanitiser and cleaning spray and wipes should be provided at the entry/exit points for use by anyone access these facilities.

Travel / Car Pooling / Car Shuffles

According to the Tasmanian Government, travelling in private cars is not subject gathering limits however PT urges caution. We understand that car shuffles for river trips or one-way sea trips and the like will be problematic and pose logistical problems.

Wherever possible people should only travel in their own car and with people who live under the same roof as them. This will include using a family member as a driver (shuttle-bunny) for car shuffles to avoid car sharing where physical distancing is not possible.

Where this is impractical, participants should, before sharing a car, politely enquire amongst themselves as to individual circumstances to ensure that no participants are at higher risk of COVID-19 exposure (recent cold or flu symptoms, recent interstate or international travel or contact with COVID-19 sufferers).

Numbers in any car should be kept as low as practical and pre-trip you should consider alternative shuttle arrangements such as bike shuffles.

Record Keeping for Contact Tracing

In the event that Tasmania records further COVID-19 cases, as is highly likely once border restrictions ease, Contact Tracing will be essential.

To assist contact tracing in the event a paddler or other attendee at a club activity or premises tests positive to COVID-19, the names of all paddlers and attendees at a paddling activity or paddling venue should be recorded.

For example, for any group paddling session such as training (polo, slalom, ocean, flatwater etc) a river trip, a coastal sea trip or a canoe polo training session, a list of all paddlers and any non-paddling attendees (parents/guardians) should be compiled including:

  • Club Name
  • Date, Times and Location
  • First and last name
  • Start and Finish times

If you are part of a regular informal training or paddling group one person should accept the responsibility of maintaining these records of attendance for the group.

At a Club venue, such as the Forth Whitewater Course or any club storage facility or clubhouse, the club should still maintain a Sign-In, Sign-Out register to be able to trace people who have accessed the facility. They should provide their own pen to minimise risk of COVID-19 transmission.

Please ensure social distancing measures are maintained at Sign In/Sign Out by marking spots on the ground and putting up signage where possible and hand sanitiser is available before reaching the sign in/sign out sheets at Paddling venues.

If an outbreak does occur at your Club the Sign In sheets will need to be provided to PT and relevant authorities in a timely fashion.

Outbreak& Reporting

If an outbreak of COVID-19 does occur among the paddling community, PT and its members must work with the relevant local authorities. Should an outbreak occur, we must be ready to act quickly following instructions which may include restriction of local paddling activities, quarantine of paddlers and their close contacts.

If you or a member of your Club tests positive for COVID-19, this should immediately be reported to a Club Committee member (Commodore, Secretary, Treasurer etc) who will report to PT, providing full name and if necessary any activity attendance sheets or venue sign in sheets for dates the individual has been participating in club activities.

This information will be provided to the relevant authority who will advise of actions to be taken.

PA Update-6-Appendix-A – Club Guidelines

Poster – Paddle-AUS-COVID-19-Safe-Recreational-Paddlers

Poster – Paddle-AUS-COVID-19-Safe-IGCs

Poster – Paddle-AUS-COVID-19-Safe-High-Performance

Poster – Paddle-AUS-COVID-19-Safe-Clubs





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