Warning as boozy Broads becomes 'hotspot' for heavy drinking

Boat owners have said there are not enough moorings along the Norfolk Broads. Picture: James Bass

Boat owners have said there are not enough moorings along the Norfolk Broads. Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2014

The Broads has become a "hotspot" for heavy drinking, with restrictions on overseas holidays leading to a spike in large groups hiring boats and getting drunk.

And with demand set to surge once more when the schools break up next week, the Broads Authority has warned visitors to limit their boozing.

It comes after this newspaper launched the Play It Safe campaign to encourage visitors to enjoy the water safely and responsibly.

BA said excessive drinking on boats was one of the biggest causes of water-related accidents and deaths and warned people to know their limits.

A UEA study found people drank more alcohol during lockdown.

A UEA study found people drank more alcohol during lockdown. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

It said the Broads had turned into a hotspot for excessive drinking during the pandemic, due to restrictions on foreign travel, with a "significant number" of groups drinking excessively while skippering boats.


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Lucy Burchnall, the authority's head of ranger services, said: “We know that people want to have a good time, and enjoying the river whilst relaxing with a drink is a pastime that has been enjoyed by visitors here for centuries.

“Unfortunately, for many people it does not end there as they become dangerously drunk and incapacitated near the water.

People enjoying a day out on boats on the Norfolk Broads. Picture: Danielle Booden

People enjoying a day out on boats on the Norfolk Broads. - Credit: Danielle Booden

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“We want to remind people to be sensible - remember that no matter what it is you are celebrating, or however great a time you are having, it is not worth losing yours or a friend’s life over.”

Rangers said they had seen drunken groups performing erratic manoeuvres, behaving anti-socially and jumping into the water while out on the Broads.

They said that along with erratic behaviour, heavy drinking while boating also made visitors more likely to fall in the water and less likely be able to get out safely.

A family enjoy a day out on the Norfolk Broads on a boat from Broad Tours, based in Wroxham. Picture

A family enjoy a day out on the Norfolk Broads on a boat from Broad Tours, based in Wroxham. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020

A Broads Authority spokesperson added: "People who are drunk are unlikely to remember to ‘float to live’ and look for a life ring, rope or ladder to get out.

"Drunk individuals may also forget to avoid the fast-spinning and sharp propeller of the boat, which will almost certainly cause severe injury or death if it comes into contact with them."

The authority also urged people to always wear a life jacket.

You can get involved with our Play It Safe campaign by ordering a free poster, with only a small charge for postage and packaging here: https://www.norfolkstore.co.uk/store/Play-it-Safe-Water-Safety-Poster-Just-pay-P&P-p372304298


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