16 November 2020: A POPULAR maritime race in Poole has been cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions. The New Year’s Day Bathtub race at the Quay attracts around 3,000 people every year. However, organisers BCP Council and Poole Harbour Commissioners have been forced to postpone the event for 2021 amid concerns around social distancing. Even in wet weather crowds turn out in force to watch the event which has been running for in excess of 40 years.
Captain Brian Murphy, Harbour Master, Poole Harbour Commissioners said “The Bathtub race is hugely popular with participants and spectators coming from all over the country to take part. With the current coronavirus rules stating you can only meet outdoors with one person from another household, it is precisely that popularity that means it is best to pause things for a year.”
“We realise that this will be a disappointment for many, but it is the right decision given the ongoing risks to public health from Covid-19. Please rest assured the Bathtub race will return and we look forward to seeing the bathtubs back on the water for News Years Day 2022.”
Councillor Mohan Iyengar, cabinet member for tourism, leisure and culture at BCP Council, said: “No one likes taking the decision to cancel an event like the Bath Tub Race. It’s traditional, it’s popular and the businesses on the quay benefit from everyone who comes along.
“But even if lockdown is eased in early December, we’ll still need to socially distance and this can’t be managed properly with the bath tub race. People will be huddling in groups – both the people racing and those watching - and we can’t take the safety risk with Covid-19 that this brings. We hope everyone understands, but it’s still a disappointment to cancel it. We’ll look forward to the next time in January 2022.”