Canoe hire in Kent with Seapoint Canoe Centre in Hythe, River Medway Canoes and Canoe Wild in Canterbury amongst those open for bookings
Families searching for something different to enjoy this summer could set sail on Kent's waterways as companies offering canoe or kayak hire reopen for business.
Facilities associated with outdoor sport and recreation are now taking to the water again as government restrictions related to the coronavirus outbreak are relaxed providing social distancing is maintained.
Seapoint Canoe Centre in Hythe is amongst those now taking bookings, either for one-to-one lessons or for rental to those living in the same household who are looking for an outdoor activity with a difference.
Helen Whittaker from the centre said it was beginning a 'phased reopening' with adults and young paddlers aged eight to 17 now able to pre-book private lessons with instructors who are welcoming everyone from beginners to those who have been out on the water before.
Lessons in either a kayak/canoe or stand-up paddle board could give young people something new to try as many sports and activities continue to be off-limits as a result of social distancing - although parents of those under 17 must be present on the bankside during the lesson.
Seapoint Canoe Centre in Prince's Parade is also offering canoes, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards for hire to members of the same household or for those paddling solo with social distancing being observed.
Each craft and all equipment used will be sanitised at the end of each session whilst visitors are also asked to wash their hands both before and after their time on the water. Changing rooms remain closed but toilet facilities will be open. The full details surrounding the centre's phased reopening can be found by clicking here.
Government guidelines for both hire firms and the public looking to return to water sports began to be issued last month as preparations were made for the lockdown to be relaxed in some areas and can be read online by clicking here.
Amongst the guidance it states: "All activity should be consistent with the government guidance regarding health, social distancing and hygiene.
"That means that participants and others can maintain a safe two metre distance, that good hygiene practices are in place, that equipment is disinfected regularly, and that it is clear that anyone who is symptomatic or suspects they have been exposed to the virus does not take part and remains at home.
"Consider the whole end-to-end ‘user journey’ when planning safe operating practices; this means all activities from the time of arrival on site to leaving, not just the sporting activity."
River Medway Canoes is another Kent firm to have reopened bookings, launching from its river-side location in Wateringbury.
Amongst the options is both canoe and kayak hire for a journey down the River Medway with a canoe suitable for two or three people starting from £50 or from £30 for kayak hire.
Trips start from 10am but start times will be varied to allow for social distancing as customers are briefed and kitted-up. River Medway canoes is also operating a pre-book hire service which will allow them to stagger bookings to 'ensure everyone's safety is paramount'.
Further details and bookings can be made through the website www.rivermedwaycanoes.com
In East Kent Canoe Wild in Canterbury is also now reopen from its Grove Ferry base but says it will limit visit numbers each day to ensure staff and visitors can all safely maintain social distancing.
A statement on its website reads: "With support and guidance from British Canoeing and Visit Kent and following government return to work for outdoor business guidance, we can carefully and responsibly phase in our hires for you to enjoy whilst maintaining social distancing."
The company has amended its hire times and the lessons on offer to meet all the latest regulations. More information and bookings for outings can be made at www.canoewild.co.uk