Slow down! New speed guns to target reckless boaters on the Broads

Head ranger Adrian Vernon with new speed gun: Picture: Maurice Gray Head ranger Adrian Vernon with new speed gun: Picture: Maurice Gray

Friday, February 7, 2014
2:38 PM

New generation speed guns are being tested by Broads Authority (BA) rangers to target reckless boaters this season.

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They will be helped in their summer patrols by a new £84,000 launch built by Broom Boats of Brundall.

Their strategy will include five super safety days around the Broads to check speed and safety. The rangers will also be giving free safety checks and answer any queries.

Head ranger Adrian Vernon said they were mindful in their preparations for this summer that last year’s hot weather had seen an escalation in speeding and bad behaviour particularly among day boat hirers.

He said: “More than 7,000 verbal warnings were issued to boaters between April and October of which nearly 5,300 were for speeding.”

The rangers had also issued written warnings for more serious or repeated offences and reported more than 600 people for non-payment of tolls.

Twenty-nine offences on the waterways had led to court action with people having to pay fines and costs of up to £1,000.

One incident, which involved threatening behaviour as well as navigation offences, was dealt with in cooperation with Norfolk police.

The rangers have been testing two new models of speed gun - one laser and one radar - both of which are easier to handle.

Mr Vernon said: “These new guns are completely hand-held and don’t need a power supply so we don’t need a launch nearby to operate them. They are also smaller and lighter.

“We are looking at leasing or buying the guns to gradually replace our current kit.

“When checking a boat’s speed we take into account the amount of wash they are creating, its effect on other vessels and how the tide is affecting the boat.”

Their new 31ft fibreglass launch has been fitted with a new generation hybrid engine. It is to be named after the late Martin Broom who was a leading member of the BA for 30 years.

Are speeding boats a menace on the Broads? Email stephen.pullinger@archant.co.uk

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