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Safety on the Norfolk Broads

Safety on the broads

Stay safe on the Norfolk Broads by following the advice below:

Wear a life jacket

Life jackets should be worn by everyone whilst on deck, even by those who can swim. The water is very cold throughout the year and even strong swimmers can get into difficulty very quickly.

Watch your speed

Speed limits on the broads are set to reduce boat wash. This in turn reduces the erosion of the banks, lessening the disturbance to water-level, nesting birds and people on moored boats. The speed limit set ranges from 3-6 mph, but even if you are travelling under the stated limit, you may still be fined if you are creating excess wash.

Mooring up and casting off

The majority of injuries occur when people jump on and off the boat. Mooring up and casting off are probably the most difficult things you have to do when handling a boat, but with good preparation and some practice you should soon master it. Always make sure that this job is given to the fittest adult and not a child and make sure they are wearing a life-jacket. A mooring should always be approached against the tide and sideways on.

Watch your crew

Make sure you know where your crew are at all times. It is so easy to lose someone overboard, especially a child, without anyone noticing. It only takes a split second.

Do not drink

Having an alcoholic drink whilst relaxing on the broads is, for many people, all part of a boating holiday. It is strongly recommended that the helmsman does not drink until the boat is moored up for the night. The waterways can sometimes get quite congested and a clear head is required.

No swimming

Swimming in the broads and rivers can be very dangerous. Whilst the water may look very appealing, especially on a hot day, it is always very cold and cold shock can kill. There are also a lot of underwater hazards such as weed, fast currents and naturally occurring poisonous blue-green algae. The other danger is that you are virtually invisible to other boaters with only your head above water.

Be careful when approaching bridges

Always take down your canopy and get everybody off deck before approaching a bridge. Make sure you are aware of the height of your cruiser and check this against the gauge board on the bridge to make sure you have clearance. It is essential that in the event of a strong current the boat is fully under control before approaching a bridge. Look out for other boats coming through; generally the boat travelling with the current has right of way. Lastly, do not raise your head until you are sure you are well clear of the bridge.


Useful links

Visit Broads

Broads National Park, The official visitor website for the Norfolk and Suffolk Broads

The Broads Authority

The Broads National Park with its scenic waterways, rare wildlife and rich history is looked after by The Broads Authority, keeping it special for visitors and its community

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