Friday, 23 August 2013

Drama... and Dinosaurs

 By Adrian Vernon, Head of Ranger Services

It’s not often rangers ask “Can I speak to the dinosaur that was helming the boat earlier please?” But after the crew of a hire boat, who dressed as animals for the weekend, had been seen speeding on the River Ant that was indeed how a conversation started.

All issues were resolved and the “dinosaur” was advised regarding the future helming of the vessel.

There was drama for the Breydon Team recently- they were returning from a site visit on Breydon Water when a crew member from a hire boat fell in along the quay.

Apparently the chap hit the water and then seemed to throw himself straight back out which given the current in that area was surely a good move on his part.

The Yare Team Rangers at Whitlingham Country Park felled an extremely large Sycamore tree in the main car park, which had been inspected and declared unsafe. All the Broads Authority’s full-time rangers have chain saw qualifications, and two are trained as climbers, meaning we can often deal with situations like this. Ranger Jonathan Cook thinned out the upper branches of the tree so it could be felled, and the large trunk and branch pieces will be “recycled” and put to good use -in a forthcoming major emergencies exercise. The tree work had to be undertaken at the busiest time of year but fortunately no problems were encountered.

The Breydon Team had another busy day when the Coastguard received three emergency calls almost at the same time. Two were for the same vessel (but in different locations), the other for Bure Mouth at Great Yarmouth. The first vessel was aground and managed to refloat itself; the second was also aground but had tipped over at an alarming angle. Unfortunately the passengers- a young mother with two children- were alarmed and distressed, and wanted to be taken off the vessel. The Breydon crew and inshore rescue boat both attended but due to very shallow water the family were helped off by a nearby private inflatable safety boat.

Thursday saw another emergency when a hire boat hit (and was briefly stuck under) St Olaves Bridge. It seems luck played a part- the helmsman was trying to turn but got caught by the current. He suffered slight arm injuries, and the vessel a smashed screen, but both were quickly sorted and he was soon underway again.

The Waveney Team were out late on 22nd August, targeting speeding vessels. They stopped two fast inflatable boats for tolls offences and then the best “policeman” in the world stepped in and calmed things down- as the heavens opened and the rain began.

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