Broads hire boat firms celebrate bumper Easter

Broads hire boat firms are celebrating bumper Easter bookings as a reward for massive investment over the winter.

Despite rain lashing down at Hoveton yesterday, the river looked as busy as a summer's day and some yards were reporting a sell-out bank holiday.

Sam Lowe, yard manager at Barnes Brinkcraft, in Riverside Road, Hoveton, said: 'We are fully booked on our holiday boats for the Easter weekend.

'We had a really good start to the year - even as early as February - and our day boat trade is up on last year as well.'

He said they listened to customers and invested every year in improving the holidays they offered.

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He said: 'This year we have installed a free wi-fi facility at the yard, available to people in our 12 holiday homes, all our boating customers while they are here as well as visitors to the yard.'

Mr Lowe added that an internet hub had been installed on their two latest upmarket Brinks Quartet craft, which enabled customers to access the internet throughout their holiday at a small cost.

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Corinne Curtis, an office supervisor at Herbert Woods, in Potter Heigham, said nearly all their boats had been snapped up for Easter breaks.

'Trade compares well with last year. We are still taking last-minute bookings although we have not got much left to offer,' she said.

Paul Greasley, a director of Norfolk Broads Direct in Wroxham, said: 'We are nearly fully booked for Easter. Things are looking great - we just need the weather to improve.'

He said bookings for the season ahead were on a par with last year despite concerns over the economy.

The firm's optimism is reflected in a major renewal programme which has seen eight boats built in the past year and two new luxury Fair Jubilee models currently in build to be ready for the Queen's Jubilee.

Len Funnell, boss at Horning Ferry Marina in Horning, said their Easter bookings were up on last year and the outlook for the season, in terms of holiday homes as well as boats, was looking as good as last summer.

He said they had built four new boats over the winter and it seemed companies that were investing were reaping the reward.

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