Thursday, 8 August 2013

Control update - dramatic rescues and damaging distractions

Spirit of Breydon with rangers John Ragan and Jon Hopes
Photo: Eastern Daily Press/Simon Finlay
By Adrian Vernon, Head of Ranger Services

Hot weather continues to bring out dangerous behaviour as last week several groups of day boat hirers were involved in both navigation byelaw offences and public order incidents.

In two of these incidents rangers were threatened with violence and police officers had to attend. Broads Beat officers are still investigating after some of the suspects decamped while on their way back to the hire yards.

A child's spilt drink resulted in a hire boat striking a moored private barge at Great Yarmouth causing considerable damage to the hire vessel and minor injuries to a passenger.

The hirer said he was distracted by the spilt drink and the collision resulted in his wife suffering minor injuries. But the hire yard quickly provided a replacement boat so the family could carry on with their holiday.

A number of speeding incidents have been recorded throughout the Broads network with rangers busy doing radar checks and in some cases taking statements from witnesses and interviewing suspects.

Environment Agency officers and Broads Beat are continuing to support the Authority on late patrols.

The Broads Authority pollution trailer was deployed to a large oil and diesel spill on the upper Ant. BA staff worked with the Environment Agency to boom the site and deal with the spill. The search for the offending vessel is continuing.

And lastly rangers made the news after a dramatic rescue of a seven-year-old boy and his father at Great Yarmouth on Wednesday.

The boy fell in the water near Vauxhall Road bridge while crabbing and his father went in to rescue him but both got into trouble in the strong tide.

Spirit of Breydon patrol boat was scrambled and helped rescue father and son from the water helped by people aboard a passing hire boat. The drama, which was reported in the Eastern Daily Press (link) came just two days after an EDP journalist went out with Spirit and reported how vital she is for the Authority to ensure the safety of boaters on and around Breydon (link).


  1. As ever thanks and congratulations to the Rangers involved.

    Interesting comments in the relevant EDP articles, one, that in the event of a grounding a tug might be called and two, that in the crabbing incident the RNLI had been paged. Tacit admission, perhaps, that the SOB is not the 'master of all' that was mooted when attempting to justify her cost.

  2. Of course additional resources to assist Spirit of Breydon may be required in certain incidents like a grounding as in any kind of rescue situation - although in the instance of the father and son rescue the RNLI, under the control of the Maritime Coastguard Agency of Humber, did not attend - but this does not detract from Spirit of Breydon's essential role in getting to so many emergencies in a critical period of time, something which would not be possible without her.

  3. Well done to the crews of the hire boat and Spirit of Breydon, and everyone else involved in the rescue. What could have easily been a tragedy has had a happy ending.

    I don't agree that requiring the attendance of a tug at a grounding is, in any way, a criticism of the abilities of the Spirit of Breydon. Grounding on Breydon Water is a pretty common occurrence and is not usually cause for much concern. Using the Spirit of Breydon as a recovery vessel in that circumstance would be a misuse. There are commercial firms to provide that service.

    Supposing the Spirit of Breydon had been acting in that capacity when the call came in for the people in the water. Should they just dump the grounded boat or ignore the emergency call?

    As I read it, the RNLI was paged by the Spirit of Breydon. Surely it's better to have too many resources available than not enough.

  4. why has no-one mentioned just what a good job the rangers are doing and what they have to deal with.. Keep up the good work

  5. Kim, the point that I am trying to put over is that the justifications given for the aquisition of the SOB are, to a large degree, being devalued by actual events. There can be no argument that the Authority is spending money like water at the moment, the Trowse Workshops and the SOB for example. Of greater concern is the obvious marginalization of the Navigation Committee and its opinion is often being ignored. All is not well at Yare House.

  6. I'm sorry, Mr Waller, but simply making a statement doesn't actually make it true.