Hire boats allowed to return to the Broads - but still no overnight stays

A boat on the Norfolk Broads at How Hill.Autumn weather.Picture: James Bass

A boat on the Norfolk Broads at How Hill.Autumn weather.Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2015

Day boats, canoes and other watercraft have been given the all clear to return to the waters of the Broads after restrictions were agreed upon by the government.

John Packman, CEO of the Broads Authority. Pic: Archant

John Packman, CEO of the Broads Authority. Pic: Archant

Following weeks of the hire boat industry being placed on hold by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has set out restrictions whereby families are now able to once again take boats out onto Norfolk’s famous assets.

However, while it will see more boats returning to the waters of the Broads National Park, limitations mean that users will need to meet a series of conditions.

These include more stringent cleaning requirements, social distancing measures being put in place and boats being limited for use by one household or support bubble at a time.

And while hire boats can return to the waters, overnight stays aboard are still not permitted, meaning hires will be limited to day trips only.

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The news has been welcomed by the Broads Authority, which has set out its own guidelines for boat users in line with those set by Defra to ensure people can resume using the waterways safely.

Writing in his monthly briefing, BA chief executive John Packman said: “This is a much appreciated step forward which will not only help hire boatyards recover some of the season but will be welcomed by the public, eager to escape the difficulties of the last few weeks and discover the Broads again.

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“Of course, the next challenge is to get trip boats operating and overnight stays permitted. We will continue to support the government messaging around social distancing to help maintain the downward trend of infections which could help the holiday trade return sooner rather than later.”

The Broads Authority’s five step guide for hirers is as follows:

1. Plan ahead - before you leave find your route, locate facilities, contact your hire company and check the BA website

2. Maintain social distancing - at moorings, access points and on footpaths

3. Be kind - consider local communities and other river users

4. Wash your hands - or use hand sanitiser at charging points, water points and gates

5. Be responsible

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