By Adrian Vernon, Head of Ranger Services
Teams were involved in a large-scale rescue mission after a hire cruiser trying to pass under Somerleyton bridge became stuck for nearly five hours.
The bridge was unable to swing and, with trains not allowed across, a major operation took place to try and free the craft.
But, despite trying to flood the vessel in order to lower it, the only thing that worked in the end was to wait for the tide to fall sufficiently. The bridge was finally working by 7.15pm – nearly five hours after the call was taken by Broads Control.
Spirit of Breydon’s turn of speed managed to save another hire boat - which had broken down - from smashing into Haven Bridge in the nick of time.
The hire cruiser engine had cut out on the lower end of Breydon Water and, although the crew dropped their mudweight, the strong tide was still dragging them into the harbour.
Spirit of Breydon was near Berney Arms when the call was taken, but shot across and just managed to hook up the cruiser before it could collide stern on with the bridge. The patrol launch’s powerful engine meant it was able to tow the cruiser against the tide to the safety of Great Yarmouth Yacht Station.
BA staff were on hand to help two people on hire boats who suffered falls. A day boat suddenly went astern while it was being moored at Norwich and a crewman holding the rope fell overboard. But a quay attendant got a lifeline to him and towed him to a ladder, with no serious injuries.
Another hirer fell from the cabin top into the front well of his cruiser, suffering back and leg injuries and needing to be directed to the nearest medical unit.
Lastly rangers have been clearing Sutton Slipway from an unusually high number of hovers - large floating sections of reed and vegetation which have broken away from the bank – and were called three times in a week to deal with them for the benefit of boaters.