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Stay Safe on the Broads: Essential Boating and Paddleboarding Safety Tips

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Stay Safe on the Broads: Essential Boating and Paddleboarding Safety Tips

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As summer approaches, ensuring safety on the water is more crucial than ever. The Broads Authority Rangers, along with the RNLI and Coastguard, are dedicated to safeguarding all who venture onto the rivers and lakes. Whether you're boating or paddleboarding, wearing a life jacket is a fundamental step to prevent accidents and ensure a safe, enjoyable experience.

Essential Safety Gear: Always Wear a Life Jacket

The Coastguard emphasises the importance of life jackets for all water activities. It's a simple measure that can save lives. Whether you're an experienced boater or a first-time paddleboarder, always wear a personal flotation device.

Planning and Communication: Keys to Safe Adventures

Have a Backup Plan

Liz Hustler, a senior officer for the Coastguard, advises having a backup plan when heading out on the water. Inform someone on land about your plans, including your expected return time. This ensures that if something goes wrong, help can be dispatched promptly.

In case of an emergency, dial 999 and request the Coastguard, providing a precise location if possible. If you witness someone in trouble, stay calm and encourage them to swim to the side. Use any available means to assist them without putting yourself at risk.

Sensible Practices for a Safe and Enjoyable Experience

Be Sensible and Follow Safety Advice

Lucy Burchnall, Head of Ranger Services, urges visitors to heed the safety advice provided by hire companies. Always wear life jackets when boarding or disembarking boats and avoid jumping into the water due to the danger posed by propellers.

While enjoying your time on the Broads, remember that alcohol can impair judgment and increase the risk of accidents. Avoid excessive drinking, especially near water. Prioritize safety to prevent tragic accidents and ensure that your visit is enjoyable for everyone.

Immediate Actions in Emergencies

Don't Jump In, Call 999 Immediately

Nick Ayers, Regional Water Safety Lead at the RNLI, highlights the importance of immediate action in emergencies. If someone is in trouble, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard. Do not jump into the water yourself; instead, throw them something that floats, such as a life ring.

Safety Tips for Holiday Hire Boats

Wear a Life Jacket at All Times

- Everyone on board, including children and pets, should wear a life jacket.
- Avoid the back of the boat where the propeller is located.
- Watch your footing when mooring to prevent falls.

Float to Live

If you fall into the water, remain calm. Float on your back to help your body adjust to the cold. Then, swim to the edge or wait for assistance.

Alcohol and Water Safety: A Dangerous Mix

Avoid Alcohol on the Water

Excessive alcohol consumption is a significant cause of water-related accidents. Just as you wouldn't drink and drive, don't drink and pilot a boat. Even passengers should limit their alcohol intake to avoid falling overboard or other accidents. Always moor your boat before drinking.

Paddle Sports: Fun with Caution

Wear Appropriate Safety Gear

Canoeing, kayaking, and paddleboarding are growing in popularity. Ensure you're prepared:

- Wear a life jacket or paddleboard tether.
- Choose quieter parts of the river and stay aware of other vessels.
- Know what to do if you capsize.
- Carry a means of calling for help, like a mobile phone in a waterproof pouch.

Broads Authority Rangers: Your Safety Partners

This summer, the Broads Authority Rangers will patrol the waterways, working closely with BroadsBeat, the RNLI, and HM Coastguard to ensure everyone's safety. For advice during your visit, contact Broads Control at 01603 756056 or visit the Yacht Stations.

By following these safety tips and guidelines, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable time on the Broads, whether you're boating, paddleboarding, or simply enjoying the beautiful surroundings. Prioritise safety to make the most of your summer adventures.
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