Monday, 28 April 2014

A busy but peaceful Easter

Although the Easter holidays were a busy time for the rangers, there have been very few incidents.

A total of five hire boats ran aground in the Breydon area. One was a breakdown in bad weather and the lifeboat was called to evacuate the crew.

Two people fell in at Great Yarmouth Yacht Station but were quickly recovered from the water.

After a call to youths throwing stones and damaging a  private boat at Great Yarmouth BA staff detained two juveniles who were dealt with by the police.

Eighteen blue book written warnings have been issued by rangers for navigation offences. Despite these, there has been a noticeable decline in speeding of day boats fitted with new GPS speed indicators in Wroxham.

Several new members of staff have been signed off as fully trained and have already been busy dealing with the myriad of tasks that rangers deal with everyday.

Friday, 25 April 2014

Authority's £82,000 funding bid success

By John Packman, Chief Executive

I am delighted to announce that the Authority has been successful in its bid for £82,000 from Defra for repairs following the December floods.

The full bid was awarded, £80,000 of which will fund the replacement of the electrical and hydraulic system at Mutford Lock, which was irreparably damaged during the tidal surge, and £2,000 will pay for various repairs at Great Yarmouth Yacht Station.

The Authority had already committed the money for the necessary work but, as the costs will now be covered in full by the additional National Park funding from Defra, £80,000 can go back into the Mutford Lock reserve account and £2,000 will fund improved flood resilience at Great Yarmouth Yacht Station.

As part of the Defra announcement Environment Minister Lord de Mauley said: “The Broads are the jewel in the crown of our precious natural environment – this investment will ensure they remain so. Given each pound spent by National Parks on recreation provides £4 of wider benefit, it is essential to get our Parks back to the highest standards ahead of the busy tourism period.”

I can also report on the progress at Mutford Lock, which facilitates more than 1,000 boat passages a year. It is currently operating on a limited, manual basis but full repairs are expected to be completed by the end of May. Full details of progress so far are that:

  • The hydraulic and electric components and steel housing units are being fabricated offsite and are close to completion. Once complete these will be assembled ready for on-site installation
  • The old hydraulic system has been disconnected
  • With the assistance of divers most of the duct and cabling crossing the lock chamber has been removed and a new duct is being fabricated. The remaining section of duct is in the trench and will be removed and the trench cleared when the new duct is ready to be installed.
  • The divers will return to clear the duct trench and will also clear a very significant built up of mussels from the lock gates close by.
  • Two of the gate winding mechanisms (which have remained stiff since the surge) will be stripped, checked and repaired/greased as necessary.
  • The main aspect of the new control system installation will take place next month (May) with completion before the end of the May.

We will keep you updated of any more progress as it happens.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Super safety marks the rangers' week

By Adrian Vernon, Head of Ranger Services

The rangers ran a very successful Super Safety Day at St Benet’s Abbey attended by Chief Executive John Packman.

The event gave us all a chance to chat to private owners and holiday makers regarding a variety of Broads related subjects.

While the vast majority of those we visited were abiding by all the byelaws, we did discover eight toll offences, stopped two speeding vessels and carried out three hazardous boat inspections were carried out.

A crew was also spoken to regarding fishing out of season and another crew were reminded of the byelaw regarding the playing of a very loud radio.

On a more unusual note a charity rower in an inflatable boat was escorted across Breydon Water by the Breydon Crew.

And in court a speeding helmsman on the River Bure was found guilty, receiving fines and costs totalling £340.

The week continued with a rowdy stag party at Horning and some boat thefts from the Northern Broads. Vessels were also let go at Potter Heigham and Horsey. A day boat was quickly recovered but two other vessels are still missing.

One hire vessel crew were helped twice in one day. They managed to run aground on the River Bure and then later on Barton Broad.

Rangers were also kept busy installing more signs and buoys on the island on Barton Broad.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Food and Flagondry launch Broads Authority silver anniversary

A must have guide for any Broads visitor wanting a fine dining experience or simply fish and chips was launched  today along with a speciality beer to celebrate the 25th birthday of the Broads Authority.

Eating Out in the Broads, sponsored by the Broads’ largest operator, Richardson’s Boating Holidays of Stalham, was unveiled at the Fur and Feather pub at Woodbastwick, home of Woodforde's brewery which brewed the birthday beer Flagondry.

The Eating Out guide features traditional pubs, speciality seafood restaurants and cosy riverside tea rooms which all serve local ingredients and have been quality checked by independent assessors and awarded either gold, silver or bronze. The guide indicates the price range and whether there is a mooring nearby.

The brochure also includes other places to eat which have not been assessed as well as bike and canoe hire outlets, boat trips, visitor centres, yacht stations and a very handy map.

Greg Munford, Chief Executive of Richardsons, said: “The experience every Richardson’s customer has on holiday is heavily dependent, not only on ourselves, but on the quality and range of other attractions and importantly restaurants and eateries.

“When the opportunity arose to sponsor the Eating Out guide we jumped at it! This is a great publication produced by the Broads Authority which helps anyone holidaying or visiting the Broads to choose where to go when they fancy a meal on shore or even a takeaway fish and chips!  We hope the wide distribution of this guide will promote the establishments included and reward those who have committed to the grading. We want people to enjoy the Broads by experiencing the magic that both the Broads and its tourism businesses have to offer.”

The Fur and Feather Inn at Woodbastwick is one of the eateries featuring in the guide and offers the new Woodforde’s beer, Flagondry - brewed exclusively to celebrate the Broads Authority’s 25th anniversary.

Flagondry, which is inspired by the dragonflies that are commonly seen in the Broads, is a golden, zesty ale using Norfolk’s finest ingredients including Maris Otter malt
and honey.

Woodforde’s managing director, Rupert Farquharson said: “Our brewery is close to Salhouse, considered the heart of the Norfolk Broads, so we are delighted to brew this beer to mark a special occasion.

“The pubs around the Broads play a key role in our region’s tourism industry and we hope visitors to this beautiful part of the world will enjoy a refreshing pint of Flagondry - a true taste of Norfolk.”

Friday, 4 April 2014

A busy start to the season

It has been a busy week for us, and these are just a few of the things we have been up to on the Broads.

The weekend started with a call saying that some ponies had escaped and were loose on the A 1062 at Ludham. The team were called out and the ponies were safely rounded up without any incident.

At Gt Yarmouth Yacht Station three life rings were vandalised and at Norwich Yacht Station a life ring was thrown on the roof of the building.

A day boat was towed from St Benet’s moorings back to Wroxham after the steering became defective, and a small diesel spill was dealt with in Horning.

The seasonal staff returned this week and there have been three days of intensive updating and training. The training included hazardous boat inspections, Whitlingham byelaws and risk assessments. Everyone is very much looking forward to the summer season.

Enquiries are underway following a motor vessel moored on a demasting mooring on the River Ant which caused problems for a yacht crew.

And finally, this Saturday 5 April starting at 10am we will be holding a Super Safety Day at St Benet’s Abbey moorings.

The rangers are to be joined by Steve Birtles our Head of Safety Management and we will be undertaking checks for speed, tolls offences and will be conducting hazardous boat checks.

It gives us a good chance to talk to visitors and locals alike and we look forward to meeting you and hearing your comments and questions. John Packman, the Chief Executive of the Broads Authority will also be in attendance.