Coronavirus Statement – River Wey & Godalming Navigations – 8 March 2021
These are unprecedented times and the National Trust, River Wey and Godalming Navigations has been working hard to make sure our response to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic follows Government advice, in the best interests of the health and wellbeing of our staff, volunteers, visitors and all river users.
Wherever possible around government Lockdowns and various Tiers, we have done our best to
maintain our sites and services as close as possible to business as usual, keeping waterways and
facilities open for everyone to enjoy afloat and on land, subject to following Government guidance.
We have also seen notable increases in use of our waterways, towpaths and visitor sites as more of
our communities recognise the benefits of getting closer to nature.
Following the announcement from the Government in late 2020 about England’s new restrictions,
we made the difficult decision to re-introduce limits to the use of the Navigations to support the
instruction to stop all non-essential travel. As the country now moves into the Roadmap for lifting
lockdown, as members of the Association of Inland Navigation Authorities (AINA) we have
collaborated with British Marine, the Inland Waterways Association (IWA) and the Department for
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to agree how we work together to respond to the new
We are therefore once more changing the rules in line with central guidance and allowing powered
navigation from 29 March. However, all aboard must be from a single household or bubble unless
the vessel is open, when up to six people from two households are allowed if social distancing can be
maintained. No overnight stays are allowed until Step 2 of the Roadmap which will come into force
no sooner than the 12 April.
Non-powered craft continue to be allowed limited use of the navigation as part of a local daily
exercise routine and this will change further when rules around minimising travel change on the 29
March when some club activities can resume.
We will keep these limitations under constant review in the light of the developing situation and
advice from Government. Our priority is to keep our staff, volunteers, visitors and river users safe,
and we will be working to make sure that everybody can continue enjoying everything our waterway
has to offer whenever possible.
Our lengthsmen and maintenance team are continuing to take care of the Navigations for everyone
during this difficult time. Please keep your distance from them as they work.
Please help us by getting in touch only if it’s essential. If you do need to contact us, we encourage
you to email us at email@example.com
For the full Government guidance on coronavirus go to http://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
Thank you all for your co-operation during these very challenging times for everyone.
How will these restrictions affect powered boats?
Licenced powered boats may be used on the River Wey & Godalming Navigations from Monday 29
March 2021, until further notice. However, the government recommends you continue to minimise
travel wherever possible and overnight stays are not allowed until the second step of the Roadmap
(which will possibly be from 12 April at the earliest).
You must not travel if you are experiencing any coronavirus symptoms, are self-isolating as a result
of coronavirus symptoms, are sharing a household or support bubble with somebody with
symptoms, or have been told to self-isolate after being contacted by NHS Test and Trace.
We advise river users to stay at home rather than self-isolating aboard, unless your boat is your
primary residence. This is so you do not put yourself at increased risk or place additional burden
upon our facilities or the emergency services.
We will do the very best we can to keep open the essential facilities we provide (e.g. water supply
and chemical toilet disposal), for those who need them. However, we will not be able to offer the
sale of keys at this time other than at Thames Lock and during reduced office hours at Dapdune
Thames Lock office will reopen on 29 March and there will be no need to book boat passage from
that date. When our team are operating the lock, it is essential that social distancing and other
public health advice is observed at all times, for the safety of our staff and lock users.
How will these restrictions affect non-powered craft?
The public may currently use the Navigation in line with government guidelines for exercise
providing social distancing measures and other rules are observed at all times. Formal club activity
can also re-start from 29 March in line with national rules.
How will these restrictions affect fishing?
Fishing is a permissible form of outdoor recreation which requires an Environment Agency rod
licence. You can only leave home to fish with members of your own household, your support bubble
or with up to five others, and social distancing measures must be observed at all times. The fishing
season closes from 15 March and re-opens on 15 June.
How will these restrictions affect use of the towpath?
The public may use the towpath in line with government guidelines and social distancing measures
must be observed at all times. Please be aware that in places the towpath is narrow, and the public
will need to collaborate to keep the mandatory distance from others.
Do I still need to license my boat?
A reminder that boat licensing on the River Wey Navigations is for a full year from January to
December, so if you have a craft on the navigation it should be paid for. We are just implementing a
new paperless system to protect boat users, staff and the environment. We apologise for the delay
in this complex undertaking and will be in touch with further information shortly, you can continue
to use the navigation in the meantime. Please make sure we have an up to date email address for
you by sending it to firstname.lastname@example.org The income from licenses is important, as a
charity it helps us to care for the waterway for everyone for ever.