Covid-19

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For all of our latest updates regarding Covid-19, please read this news article.

General

It will take a few weeks for our ‘new normal’ to settle and at each of our marinas some services will be back to normal quicker than others. Please be patient with one another and our teams across the marina on the pontoons and respect any additional requests made by our team members as they develop and adapt social distancing protocols for specific areas. For the time being our teams will be unable to take lines for customers and assist in the normal way, at peak times and particularly this coming weekend the team have been asked to close the marina office doors and to only walk pontoons when social distancing can be maintained. Please keep the marina office phone numbers with you so you can contact us for assistance and to answer questions. 

Please follow the rules; going boating as a sport is a gift and if the authorities believe rules are not being followed or social distancing is not actively maintained we face a further lock down. Please “Stay Alert”.

Site Access

The Government have updated their message from “stay at home” to “stay alert” and you can now visit your boat, following our social distancing rules for maintenance and checks. The advice remains as:

  • Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (but only if you cannot work from home)
  • If you go out, stay 2 metres (6'6") away from other people at all times
  • Wash your hands as soon as you get home
  • Do not meet others, even friends or family. You can spread the virus even if you don’t have symptoms.

Under the new guidelines, more of our tenant businesses will be back in their offices with staff working on site. So when you visit, please make sure you adhere to all social distancing measures that are detailed around the site.

Boats on Berths

If your boat is already on its berth, you are welcome to come and go from the marina as you please, making sure that you adhere to all the social distancing guidance in place. You will not be able to stay on your boat. You are respectfully asked to move freely through the marina from your vehicle to your boat and away from the marina to enjoy your sport as quickly as possible. Please do not linger and be aware of the governments rules about groups of people and being with people not in your household. Your travel to the boat is for exercise and sport it is not for hospitality and leisure.

At some marinas and on some pontoons there are natural points where several pontoons and therefore people come together. This includes but not exclusively bridgeheads and main walk ways. Whilst there is guidance at each marina on social distancing at these points including at some sites markers on floors, if you are at one of these locations and you feel you cannot proceed safely because of people traffic volumes please move away and call the marina office where a member of the team will either advise or assist you, maintaining a 2m minimum social distance. 

Boats on Dry Stacks

We absolutely want you to be able to get out on the water when you want to go, but you’ll understand that we’re going to be very busy and we need to maintain social distancing between you, other customers and our team. For the next 8 weeks (or until we communicate differently)  please book your launch slot at least 24 hours in advance. We know that this is a big change, but we’re sure you’ll be patient as we settle into the ‘new normal’ and find ways to reduce the booking in advance time. Your boat will be launched and made ready for you to collect, when you return it to the berth we will pick it up after you have gone and possibly the next day.  Please also carefully follow all instructions given by our team members to make sure there is no pontoon crowding and / or rafting. For commercial customers please contact the marina manager directly.

Boats in Marina Locks

Our marina teams at Hythe and Chatham will be running queues to access the locks, given that it is not possible to social distance in a packed lock. The queuing systems may include staggering boats in the lock to maintain distance, and not including smaller boats (like RIBS) in between bigger boats. The marina teams will assess the boats waiting and will endeavour to put the best queue system in place for the challenge they’re presented with. You are asked to please be patient, contacting our teams to express your concerns will hold up operations, please work with them, respect them and remember, there are still significant restrictions in place across the country, we expect to refine operations as government guidance changes. 

Boatyards

We know how much you all want to get back to boating as soon as possible and the team are doing everything they can to facilitate that. With nearly 2,000 boats ashore across our network it will take some time get everyone where they want to be. In the last week we have been making contact with many customers to check that boats are ready to go and quite understandably some are not. Please remember you can access your boat ashore for maintenance purposes as normal. 

For the next four weeks boatyard operations will operate at some marinas at different times with some longer days and in some cases with different teams, the reason for this is that we are providing all of our team with refresher training to ensure they provide the very best service following a period of inactivity. This cannot be done all at once because of the geography of our marinas so please bear with the team as we get up and running.  At larger boat yards such as Hamble Point we have been lifting commercial boats all through the lock down, the same in some other locations and launching operations for leisure boats will continue in to next week following the lifting of restrictions. 

We have received a high volume of calls in the last few days requesting new launch dates, we will do our best to return boats to the water as soon as we can and will contact owners who have a boat out of the water and design a launch plan around their needs. Please wait for your marina office to contact you about your yard’s launch plan as they’ll be juggling where each boat is. At some marinas we provided provisional summer launch dates to many customers and we are now in a position that these dates can be bought forward and we hope to get as many of you boating earlier than expected. 

When we call, you may be given a launch date in mid to late June in some locations, this is initially so we can ensure you have a slot. It is our intention to get our customers back in the water as soon as we can and if you are ready please let the team know so that they can contact you, possibly at short notice for an earlier re launch. 

If you require a lift out of the water, you may book one in advance with your marina office – we anticipate starting lift outs from 15th June for new bookings. You may see lift outs happening at your yard; these are for our business tenants and part of their commercial operations.

Can I attend my boat launch?

For the next four weeks we ask you not to attend the launching of your boat. This is so our team can operate freely around the boat yard while maintaining social distancing and operating inside of their risk assessment. Once you boat has been launched and the team have returned to the boat yard you may collect it. Remember no food and beverage is open on site, the marina offices are closed, facilities only offer toilets so there is nowhere for you to go. Please do not arrive expecting to attend your launch the team will be unable to fulfil your request.

Fuel Services

Marine fuel will be offered on a limited and pre booked basis only at some sites subject to availability. The reason for this is we are expecting peak demand and must maintain adherence with Government guidance. Booking slots will be 30 mins apart and you are asked not to arrive before or after your allotted time, the team will not be able to collect lines from you or have more than one boat on the fuel berth at any one time. We will unfortunately not be able to service everyone, please do not book fuel if you don’t need it at this time. Fuel at some marinas will be available during the week when demand will be much reduced so please consider carefully your boating needs. You can book fuel by calling your marina, contact details can be found here

Berth Holder New Season Packs

New season packs are now ready for you to collect. Please be aware that we will not be issuing new season packs at the weekend only during week days so please consider when best to visit. In addition if you would like your pack or new access cards to be sent to you in the post please email your marina who will be happy to help.

Contractors and Tenants

As always our marina teams are onsite and making sure your boat is safe if you cannot personally travel to the marina yourself. The teams are available to carry out minor tasks for you such as disconnecting storage heaters, opening vents, checking bilges, checking electrical supplies and adjusting fenders for your peace of mind. If you require essential work on your boat that simply can't wait, please contact your chosen contractor.

We will try our best to fulfil tenants' and contractors' needs throughout this time, provided jobs can be performed safely and in line with Government guidelines and MDL's operations. 

Are there restrictions on how far I can travel to the marina?

No. You can travel to the marina irrespective of distance. You shouldn’t travel with someone from outside your household unless you can practise social distancing - for example by cycling.

Can I stay on my boat overnight?

There are no restrictions on how far you can travel to get to the countryside or the coast. However, you cannot visit and stay overnight at a holiday home or second home. In England you can leave your home to exercise and spend time outdoors for recreation as follows:

  • spend time outdoors, including exercise, alone, with your household, or with one person who is not in your household as long as you stay two metres apart
  • exercise more than once a day
  • take part in other outdoor sports and activities, including fishing – on your own, with your household, or with one other person while adhering to social distancing rules
  • drive to outdoor open spaces, including beaches and beauty spots, irrespective of distance. You should travel in a private vehicle, alone or with members of your own household.
  • you should check first if facilities, such as car parks, are open to receive visitors and, when in the countryside, continue to follow the Countryside Code by respecting the local community and protecting the natural environment
  • go swimming in either lakes or the sea as part of daily exercise provided that social distancing guidelines are observed – you cannot use public indoor and outdoor pools
  • all forms of water sports practiced on open waterways, including sailing, windsurfing, canoeing, rowing, kayaking, surfing, paddle-boarding and the use of privately-owned motorised craft (in line with the guidance issued by the relevant navigation authority) are allowed. You can continue to use towpaths for walking, running and cycling, being mindful of other users and people living in boats along the water

Can I meet friends and family at the marina?

You can meet one other person from outside your household if you are outdoors at the marina. Public gatherings of more than 2 people from different households are prohibited in law. At all times, you should continue to observe social distancing guidelines when you are outside your home, including ensuring you are 2 metres away from anyone outside your household. As with before the changes on May 10th, you cannot invite friends or family outside of your household onto your boat.

Perishable Goods (if you have to remain in isolation)

If you’re worried about perishable goods left on your boat, then our marina teams are happy to remove items and dispose of them safely if you cannot come down to the marina yourself. Please email your marina office using the contact details found here

Self-Isolation

People shouldn’t self-isolate on their boats and shouldn’t be spending the night. This will put our staff and tenants at unnecessary high risk. Self-isolators will be much more comfortable at their primary address. 

Security of Boat

If you cannot safely travel to perform security checks on your boat, then our core marina teams will continue to look after your boat on your behalf. They are also able to provide personal video and photos of your boat upon request, please contact your marina office to arrange. If you have a particular concern about your boat – like an electrical appliance being switched on – please email your marina office and they will check it for you. Contact details can be found here

Taking Exercise

The public are being actively encouraged to take more and even unlimited amounts of outdoor exercise. You can also drive to other destinations; you can even play sports but only with members of your own household. However, please adhere to all social distancing measures as instructed at our marinas.

Berthing Fees

To celebrate the easing of lockdown restrictions, and the brilliant news we can now get back on the water, we’re delighted to announce a Back to Boating Bonus for all of our loyal annual Freedom Berth Holders and annual Freedom Berth Dry Stack customers. Find out more here.

Boat Insurance

MDL insure its own liability – which would include any damage to a boat caused by our negligence. For instance, if MDL moved a boat so that we could put a different configuration of boats in the marina and whilst moving it, we scratched it because we weren’t looking where we were going, that would be our liability.  If there was a storm and we had failed to maintain our pontoons properly and they broke up and a boat was damaged, that would be our liability. But, if our properly maintained pontoons broke up during a storm and the boat was damaged, that would not be our liability. The berth holder insurance would have to cover it. It is important to remember the insurance of a boat is the responsibility of the owner, so please speak to your Insurance company with any concerns.

Risk Assessments

We confirm we have complied with the government’s guidance on managing the risk of COVID-19 at our marinas. Read more here.

Is Lockdown Over?

We will update all customers and tenants as the guidance changes. We are tracking the progress through the new Covid Alert System. The Covid Alert Level will tell us how tough we have to be in our social distancing measures – the lower the level, the fewer the measures.

As with all of the measures above, we’re asking our customers to be patient, and to respect all social distancing guidance and the ways in which our marina teams respond to the individual challenges each marina presents. As you know, we couldn’t be prouder of our marina teams who have been looking after our marina network although, in some cases, they have been treated inappropriately by some customers in recent weeks. We respectfully ask for your patience, understanding and above all adherence to the rules to avoid a further lockdown. Please show them your support as we adjust to our ‘new normal’.