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Broads' staff trained to save lives in the water over the festive period

RNLI training staff at Broads Tours, in Wroxham, how to use throw bags.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

RNLI training staff at Broads Tours, in Wroxham, how to use throw bags. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2017

Broads' staff are being trained to help when someone gets into difficulty in the area's waterways over the festive period.

The Waterside Community Responder scheme was piloted in the summer, after figures revealed that 20 people drowned around the Broads in the last three years.

Among those getting training from RNLI community safety volunteers from Happisburgh lifeboat station are staff at Broads Tours in Wroxham. The firm offers river trips and day boat hire on the Broads, so they are equipped to help people who get into difficulty near the water, for whatever reasons.

They have also been issued with potentially life-saving throw bags, and trained on how to use them.

Tobi Radcliffe, skipper of Broads Tours’ Queen of the Broads said: “We are getting our staff, including those involved in cleaning and housekeeping, some boatbuilders, other skippers, and day boat staff, to undergo the training.

“We want visitors to feel safe but also to acknowledge the risks involved and respect the water.

“We have a large footfall of people over the Christmas period and the training we are getting builds on work that Norfolk Constabulary does with stag and hen parties coming to the Broads, and getting across to them how to behave on the water.

“I have known of cases when a member of the public has gone in the water, and we’ve had to help and rescue them.

Nick Ayers, RNLI community safety partner, said: “Pubs, bars and boat companies are particularly busy this time of year and staff are well placed to respond quickly to someone in trouble in the water.”

“We are trying to enrol as many people as possible to train. We have got to reduce that 20 people drowned number.”

Barbara Greasley, director of boating holidays firm, Norfolk Broads Direct, said: “Safety is paramount for our staff and customers. We want everyone to enjoy this beautiful area in safety. We have been given three throw bags to put at various sites in the area.

Staff at pubs, bars, shops and boating companies who would like the free training and equipment from the RNLI should visit www.rnli.org/pages/throw-bag-training

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