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‘It made a horrible noise’ - Another boat gets stuck under Broads bridge

PUBLISHED: 16:26 11 October 2020 | UPDATED: 18:35 11 October 2020

A Broads' hire boat became trapped under Potter Heigham bridge. Photo: Graham Fitzgerald-Scales

A Broads' hire boat became trapped under Potter Heigham bridge. Photo: Graham Fitzgerald-Scales

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Visitors navigating Broads waterways have been warned after another hire boat got trapped under a bridge.

A Broads' hire boat became trapped under Potter Heigham bridge. Photo: Graham Fitzgerald-ScalesA Broads' hire boat became trapped under Potter Heigham bridge. Photo: Graham Fitzgerald-Scales

At 1.20pm on Saturday, a hire boat became stuck under Potter Heigham bridge after not heeding signs which warned of high tides and little room for clearance.

Graham Fitzgerald-Scales, who was fishing by the bridge at the time, said there was around 5.5ft clearance under the bridge - and “lots of signs” telling people to check the height of their boats before attempting to pass under.

He said: “They freed themselves about five minutes later by reversing in full throttle, but you could hear the top of the boat scraping against the bridge.

“It made a horrible noise.

Herbert Woods' webcam shows the boat trapped under Potter Heigham bridge this morning. Photo: Herbert Woods webcam (https://www.herbertwoods.co.uk/norfolk-broads/webcam/)Herbert Woods' webcam shows the boat trapped under Potter Heigham bridge this morning. Photo: Herbert Woods webcam (https://www.herbertwoods.co.uk/norfolk-broads/webcam/)

“The only other boats I saw attempt the bridge that day clearly knew the height of their boats.”

For Paul Rice, who runs Broads’ Watch, Potter Heigham and Wroxham bridges continue to pose a problem for hire boaters as tides remain high.

“The rain means the water levels are fluctuating between around 5 and 5.6 feet - which isn’t very much room at all,” he said.

“All hire boats should be guided by a pilot when passing under the bridge, and should not attempt to do so without one.

Herbert Woods' webcam shows the trapped boat being towed out from under Potter Heigham bridge this morning. Photo: Herbert Woods webcam (https://www.herbertwoods.co.uk/norfolk-broads/webcam/)Herbert Woods' webcam shows the trapped boat being towed out from under Potter Heigham bridge this morning. Photo: Herbert Woods webcam (https://www.herbertwoods.co.uk/norfolk-broads/webcam/)

“I understand that these bridges are tricky because they’re curved, and so it may look like you’ve got more room than you do.

“Hopefully, when the rain eases off as we go into next week, this problem will go away entirely.”

Just last week, a Martham hire boat became trapped under the same bridge - but was stuck for around half an hour.

The boat had to be towed out by a Herbert Woods’ tow boat, with the entire scene live-streamed on Herbert Woods’ Potter Heigham webcam.

According to the Broads Authority, it is important boaters know how to stay safe as we approach winter - and avoid situations such as these.

In a statement, the authority said: “People must check tide tables and see gauge boards next to bridges to ensure safe clearance heights.

“Until October 31, during working hours, bridge pilots are on hand at Potter Heigham and Wroxham bridges to assist boats to pass under safely.”

Other advice included refraining from “boozing and cruising” and the need to wear a life-jacket when boarding and leaving a boat.
MORE: Boat gets trapped under Broads’ bridge following high tides


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