We have been thinking long and hard about the Coronavirus outbreak since news started coming out of China at the start of the year. With recent fast moving developments in Europe and the statement from the Prime Minister on Thursday about how the government intends to handle the outbreak in the UK, we issue the following statement.
Passenger and staff safety of course is the overriding concern. These concerns need to be balanced against likely risk and advice from the government and WHO. The activity we offer of course is on a relatively small boat whose small passenger numbers (maximum of 12) are out in the open air and who are able to physically distance themselves from one another to an acceptable degree. This is very different situation to being on a crowded cruise ship, or even on a smaller boat where greater numbers of passengers sit in very close proximity to one another. With this in mind, we have decided to continue offering trips for the time being and we are taking bookings. Bookings are still coming in, and it seems that with current advice, we are able to run the trips with an acceptable level of risk.
That being said of course, taking precautions and being sensible and aware are very important.
We pledge to undertake the following:
- Wipe disinfectant over lifejackets between wears
- Clean public areas in the office and the boat several times a day with disinfectant. e.g. door handles, tables, keyboards, phones.
- We will not be shaking hands with guests. All contact will be sleeve to sleeve, including helping on and off of boat.
- We will not be providing (and therefore sharing) coats for guests – they will need to bring their own.
- The toilet on the boat will have hand gel provided (or if this is unavailable, disinfectant). Again, this area will be cleaned several times a day. It is a good idea if you also bring your own, given the shortages there have been.
- Areas of the boat which are habitually touched by staff and guests will be wiped down with disinfectant between trips.
- We will not be offering guests the use of the toilet on the pier, even in emergencies. Too many other people have access to it. (Please make sure you have used a public toilet before you arrive and crucially, washed your hands thoroughly afterwards)
- Information leaflets will not be on display for the time being. This is eliminates the risk of germs being transmitted via the paper.
- We will have a rubbish bag and tissues for your use.
In return you are asked to:
- Please remain outside the office until 15 minutes before the trip. On this note, this means you should not arrive too early for your trip and expect to wait in the office.
- On entry, please make sure you have washed your hands or used hand gel. It’s tricky on the Albert pier, but we intend setting up a hose running from the tap to outside the office, and you will be able to wash your hands thoroughly with soap before admittance. Sounds banal, but soap really IS an amazing weapon. This is because coronavirus is an “enveloped” virus, which means that it has an outer lipid membrane layer. Basically, it’s surrounded by a fat layer. Washing your hands with soap and water has the ability to “dissolve” this greasy fatty layer and kill the virus. Soap doesn’t just wash it off you — it kills it. Lather up for a minimum of 20 seconds.
- If you feel a cough or sneeze coming on, can you please do it into a tissue and dispose of it. Failing that, an elbow!
- Make sure you have brought your own warm, waterproof coat, as ours will not be provided for the time being.
- Please make sure that if you are displaying any symptoms or feeling remotely unwell, do not visit. These include a cough, a fever or shortness of breath. At the moment government advice is that anyone displaying any signs of respiratory illness should self isolate for seven days or fourteen days if they live with others. If anyone does arrive coughing, we wouldn’t want to have to say “Sorry we can’t take you.
- Exercise common sense and caution for the good of themselves, other passengers and Marine Discovery staff.
These are worrying times for everyone and small businesses might well end up bearing the financial brunt of it. No activity is ever risk free and clearly we cannot 100% guarantee you will not catch anything during your visit. But we will do our very best and we ask for your support. Having worked so hard over the last 15 years to get Marine Discovery to where it is now, our dearest wish is to keep offering boat trips and keep our loyal visitors and friends visiting. Obviously the situation is fluid and we will keep a sharp watch on any developments. If things need to change, we won’t hesitate. Thank you.
Marine Discovery team