The Broads is a great place to take to the water for the first time in a variety of boats.
But before setting off on your first voyage, there are a few things you need to know and think about.
Please take care of yourself, your passengers, others on the waterways, the wildlife and the fragile world of the Broads.
Always wear a buoyancy aid or life-jacket when on the water. We recommend that you wear your buoyancy aid at all times when on deck, even if you can swim. The water is very cold and even strong swimmers can get into troublequickly. Children should always wear buoyancy aids even when the boat is moored and adults should keep an eye on them.
For your safety never swim in the rivers or broads. The Broads is a natural, wild place and the water in the rivers and broads is always cold, no matter what the weather is like, and cold shock can kill. With just your head above water you're also nearly invisible to boaters.
Make sure you have suitable clothing and footwear, and check out the weather forecast so you are fully prepared.The river is always moving , and your boat will be effected by the winds and tides-steering straight may not keep you on a straight path.
Always let someone know where you are going and when you have returned
Boats can be unstable so take care when stepping into or out of your boat. Don't jump! this is where the majority of injuries occur. The most appropriate member of your crew (wearing a buoyancy aid) should step ashore (the fittest adult-this is not a job for a child)
You must be able to take control of your boat and operate it in a way which avoids injury to people, wildlife, the environment or property, and you must show reasonable consideration for others. Steering a boat is different, because the rudder is at the back, so its that end (the stern) that moves. You'll be facing the front (the bow), but always think about the back end or you may find your stern swinging into the bank or other boats.
Children over 14 years may only drive a motor boat under constant supervision.
You must moor safely and follow regulations displayed at moorings. You must not disturb others by running your boat engine at moorings. Casting off and mooring up can be the most difficult parts of handling a boat, but with preparation and practice you'll soon be confident.
Make a plan; before casting off or mooring up make sure your ropes are ready and that your crew knows what to do in advance.
Careful approach; always approach a mooring against the tide, with a hand on the throttle. You'll then be able to hold the boat stationary heading into the tide and approach the mooring sideways under perfect control. Always use your mud weight when moored for extra safety.
Manoeuvring your boat; this should be done at slow speeds - a quick burst of power with the helm hard over will kick the stern around, but slow the engine quickly afterwards. Most boats turn better in one direction than the other. When viewed from behind, most boat's propellers turn clockwise - these will turn better to the left (port) than to the right (starboard)
Keep an eye out; watch your crew at all times. It's possible for people, especially children, to fall overboard without anyone noticing. Don't let children sit on the front of the boat, or play at the stern of the boat or on the roof unsupervised, especially when the boat is underway.
You must not fish from a motor or sailing boat which is under way
Your boat must not give off smoke or fumes
Brakes; your boat has no brakes - to stop it, if you put it into reverse, this will act as a reverse. Think ahead as it takes longer to stop a boat than it does a car.
You must not use weapons, e.g. air guns
If you are involved in an incident where people are injured or there is damage to boats or property you must stop your boat and contact us, whatever time of the day or night.
Broads Authority navigation rangers enforce the byelaws and provide help and information to boaters.
These range from 3-6mph and are clearly sign-posted on all rivers and broads. The limits may appear to be a little slow if you are new to the broads and boating, however they are there for the protection of the enviroment as well as other boat users. Boat waves damage river banks, harm wildlife and can be dangerous for other boaters and anglers. It is therefore important to plan your journeys as they may take a little longer than you might think.
You must not go over the speed limits, and remember, if your boat is going with the tide your speed will be faster than indicated. As a guide, 4 mph is a fast walking pace.
"This was the first time on the broads and we were all slightly worried about our adventure. The staff at Norfolk Broads Direct made the journey easy. We all loved the break and can't wait to return".
The White Family, Norfolk