Friday, 31 October 2014

Broads control news - a busy half term

By Adrian Vernon, Head of Ranger Services

Things have been busy for the rangers this half term week with rescues and incidents.

A hirer accelerated away from Reedham Quay with the stern line still connected and a cleat was ripped from the vessel and struck a crew member causing minor injuries.

Two vessels have been stuck on the mud on Breydon Water and two more have run aground on the Lower Bure.

A vessel reversed into the path of a trip boat in Wroxham and the resulting collision caused serious damage to the fibreglass cruiser but there were no injuries.

Two vessels were let go at Neatishead and a hire vessel hit a moored dinghy on the River Ant.

A holiday maker stepped off his vessel at St Benet’s Abbey moorings and slipped into the water but was quickly rescued.

Breydon Bridge has gone out of action and it’s not yet clear when it will be back in service.

With the darker evening and afternoons people have been caught out and several vessels have been reported travelling after dark, so please take care!

Friday, 24 October 2014

Broads control news - dealing with floods

By Adrian Vernon, Head of Ranger Services

On Tuesday after receiving flood alerts and warnings we decided to close Great Yarmouth Yacht Station to overnight mooring. It was just as well we did because the next morning the tide covered the yacht station and was above mooring post level.

Once the tide turned at Gt Yarmouth it dropped quickly but it remained high on most of the rest of the system. At its height the morning tide only left a 4 foot clearance under the Acle New Road Bridge at Great Yarmouth.

On Wednesday we had rangers out checking the system by road and river. The Waveney team rangers went to Beccles by road early but then were called by river to attend Haddiscoe where the river needed to be closed. Somerleyton bridge had a problem which was quickly resolved.

Other staff were out on Breydon Water and the Yare plus the Northern rivers. The quay ranger at Reedham released three vessels from the quay ,one of which managed to later go aground on Breydon Water after the high water had receded.

The rangers and ops team have been busy dealing with large debris that could cause a problem to navigation and have assisted to release hung up vessels at their moorings.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Broads volunteers up for prestigious national award!

Broads group the Nancy Oldfield Trust have been shortlisted for the prestigious National Parks Volunteer Awards.

The trust, which for 30 years has provided water-based activities in the Broads for disabled and disadvantaged people from all over the United Kingdom, beat dozens of entrants to be one of five shortlisted for the group category in the 2014 awards.

A spokesperson for National Parks UK said: "The standard for this year's awards was incredibly high and exemplary of the amazing work being done by volunteers throughout the 15-member National Parks family."

Some 60 volunteers at the Nancy Oldfield Trust help provide sailing, rafted canoeing, motor boating and other activities based on the water. Volunteers also carry out most of the boat and building maintenance at the trust's centre in Neatishead.

Volunteers participate in a number of events held on the Broads to promote access to what is an inherently inaccessible environment; they also promote trust work through talks and by direct approaches to potential visitor groups.

The 2014 National Parks Volunteer Awards are being given in four categories: Individual, Young Person, Volunteer Project and Volunteer Group. Judges will soon return to the discussion table and winners will be announced in November.

For more information visit the National Parks UK website.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

In house launch maintenance saves Authority money

Motor launch Ant inside the workshop at Griffin Lane undergoing her annual refit.
Four of the Broads Authority’s eight launches are now being serviced and re-fitted by staff  at its dockyard at Thorpe, saving the Authority money.

Historically they have been maintained by boatyards but this operation has now been brought in house as part of the Authority's cost saving measures.

Friday, 3 October 2014

Greater police presence on the Broads

Norfolk and Suffolk police are cracking down on crime and anti-social behaviour on the Broads as they join Broads Authority rangers on patrols.

Six Special Constables were given training by Broads Authority rangers on boat handling, byelaws and water safety on the River Waveney last week. Full time officers will also be trained over the winter so they can carry out high profile on-the-water policing with rangers.

On the final day they dealt with a medical emergency when they came across a local man who was suffering a suspected heart attack on his boat near Oulton Broad Holiday Village. They called the coastguard and paramedics and an ambulance were shortly on the scene.

PC Paul Bassham of BroadsBeat which has its own police patrol boats said: “We’re aiming to be more proactive in preventing crime on the Broads and act as a deterrent while reassuring people of a police presence and offering safety and crime prevention advice. Many criminals are quite brazen and will operate during day. We ask people to look out for each other and report anything suspicious by ringing 101 quoting project Kraken, or in the event of a crime actually taking place, to ring 999.”

He said there had been a recent spate of thefts at Brundall boatyards in which eight boats have been entered and four chart plotters stolen. Owners are advised to check their boats regularly or get someone to do it for them, particularly during the winter.

Suffolk Police have recently launched Boatshield, which is aimed at helping the public to prevent marine crime. Information leaflets are available at Beccles Quay.

Great Yarmouth Yacht Station has now been fitted with CCTV cameras. A person was caught stealing a fishing rod from a cruiser and a light from a Broads Authority boat in its first week.

PC Bassham urged boaters to keep equipment such as fishing rods and valuables out of sight and take serial numbers of outboard engines, Smart phones, I pads, VHF Radios and other marine gadgets.