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Broads rangers called into action more than 34,000 times in past year

PUBLISHED: 08:00 31 July 2020

Ranger Tobi removing Himalayan Balsam. Picture: Broads Authority

Ranger Tobi removing Himalayan Balsam. Picture: Broads Authority

Tom Barrett

Sunken boats and broken bones were among the more than 34,000 calls made to rangers in the Broads in the past year.

Ranger Stephen rescuing a swan. Picture: Broads AuthorityRanger Stephen rescuing a swan. Picture: Broads Authority

The Broads Control received 34,599 calls from members of the public from June 2019 to June this year.

Of the most serious calls, 16 people were reported to have fallen in the water, 15 boats were sunk and there were 27 reported injuries and illnesses including broken bones and medical emergencies.

Other incidents included 61 fallen trees, 93 hazards to navigation in the water and 20 pollution reports.

Rangers, who look after the 125 miles of rivers and Broads, must also help with life and death rescue missions.

Ranger Martin towing a sunken vessel. Picture: Broads AuthorityRanger Martin towing a sunken vessel. Picture: Broads Authority

Jon Hopes, a ranger, helped to rescue a father and son who had slipped into fierce waters at the River Bure, near Great Yarmouth’s Vauxhall Bridge, in 2013.

The seven-year-old boy had fallen in while fishing for crabs, and his father had leapt in to help him, but both struggled in the strong low tide.

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In 2015, rangers helped emergency services with a dramatic rescue of four people from Rockland Broad in Rockland St Mary.

Ranger Matt removing Himalayan Balsam. Picture: Broads AuthorityRanger Matt removing Himalayan Balsam. Picture: Broads Authority

The group was saved from the water after their rowing boat sank.

“Saving the day for people in trouble on the water always leaves you with a good feeling,” said ranger Matt Markman.

He is one of 12 full-time rangers who patrol the Broads, with five summer seasonal rangers, two winter seasonal rangers and one ranger apprentice.

His colleague Tobi Radcliffe, also a ranger, said: “There are days when it’s really tough. But even on a freezing, wet winter’s day out clearing trees in the marshes, it’s still okay.

Ranger Chris doing tree work. Picture: Broads AuthorityRanger Chris doing tree work. Picture: Broads Authority

“It can be a challenge when it’s really busy on the Broads, with lots of boats to look after and so many people to help. But even then, knowing that you’ve helped is always a really satisfying feeling.”

Today, the Broads Authority will be joining in with celebrations on World Ranger Day, which recognises the work of rangers.

To contact the Broads Rangers please phone Broads Control on 01603 756056 or VHF channel 12 or email Broads.control@broads-authority.gov.uk.


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