Monday, 1 September 2014

Broads staff carry out boat census

Chief Executive John Packman joined other Broads Authority staff and volunteers to carry out the four-yearly boat census.

The census, held in the week preceding the August bank holiday, involves noting down boats travelling at strategic places around the Broads and marking their direction and boat type.
The results are used to ascertain trends in boat numbers and usage patterns.

Over three nine-hour days, boat numbers at 14 key sites were recorded. With locations differing from lonely riverbanks, like Oulton Dyke, to the much friendlier Horning Ferry Inn, Authority staff and volunteers sat poised with their check lists ready to mark off all manner of vessels as their glided past.

Mark King, Waterways and Recreation Officer, said: “Now the census is over, the real work begins with the collating of the data recorded. Once the numbers have been checked, crunched and verified the results will be used to ascertain numbers of registered vessels compared with hire craft, along with types of vessel currently in use and an overview of who is using the Broads.”

Broads Authority Chief Executive Dr John Packman carrying out the boat census at Great Yarmouth

The information is also used in conjunction with a variety of Broads responsibilities but mainly ranger patrols and the Sediment Management Plan.

The rangers will use the information to ensure that areas of high usage are patrolled regularly. And with regards to the Sediment Management Plan, the census will give officers an insight into the types of vessels being used within the Broads. They can then tailor the dredging programme accordingly if, for example, deep-bottomed craft are seen to be frequenting certain stretches of the river.

Mark added: “A huge thank you to all involved in this very important task.”

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