When cruising the Broads it is important that all boaters put safety first.
All crew members should wear a properly-fastened lifejacket when on deck – even if they can swim. Children should wear properly-fastened lifejackets, even when the boat is moored, and parents should keep an eye on them. Make sure the crew’s whereabouts is known at all times. Don’t let children sit on the fore part of the boat or play at the stern, or on the roof, unsupervised.
Think ahead when approaching bridges If appropriate, take down the canopy. Get everyone off the deck, with hands and heads inboard, before approaching a bridge. Know your boat’s air draught and check it for clearance against the gauge board on the bridge. Watch out for boats coming from the opposite direction.
Generally, the boat travelling with the current has right of way.
Go steady with alcohol. Vigilance is needed while navigating on the water, getting on and off the boat, and moving around on deck. It is recommended that the helmsperson does not drink at all until the vessel is safely moored. Even then all the crew should act sensibly and be particularly careful when returning to the vessel at night – consider taking lifejacket and torch ashore.
When mooring up, don’t jump! This is where the majority of injuries occur. Make sure mooring ropes are ready fore and aft and free of tangles. The fittest adult should step ashore wearing a properly-fastened lifejacket. Boats should approach a mooring against the tide, allowing for any wind conditions.
Never swim or dive into broads or rivers – there may be weeds, strong currents or waterborne diseases.
If anyone falls in – ‘reach or throw but don’t go’. Reach with a broom, mop or towel, or throw a rope (keeping hold of one end!) or anything that floats, such as a life ring, ball or airtight container. Personal rescue equipment is located at all Broads Authority 24-hour moorings.
Coping with pets Most people realise it’s essential to wear a lifejacket while on or near the water – but lifejackets are also available for dogs. Dogs tend to fall overboard quite regularly and are just as susceptible to cold and other hazards as people. Remember, never enter the water to rescue a pet – people have died rescuing them.