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Fires, injuries and people overboard as accidents on the Broads reach 10 year high

PUBLISHED: 15:11 15 May 2019 | UPDATED: 15:11 15 May 2019

A crusier on the River Bure at Wroxham on the Norfolk Broads
Life ring pictured on a boat
Boat Safety / Drowing / Broads/ Life Jacket / River Bure

Picture: James Bass
For: 
Evening News © 2008  (01603) 772434

A crusier on the River Bure at Wroxham on the Norfolk Broads Life ring pictured on a boat Boat Safety / Drowing / Broads/ Life Jacket / River Bure Picture: James Bass For: Evening News © 2008 (01603) 772434

Archant Norfolk Photographic© 2008

The number of Broads visitors finding themselves in troubled waters reached a 10-year high in the past 12 months - a report has revealed.

Between April 2018 and March 2019, the Broads Authority was alerted to 68 separate incidents on the waters, including boat fires, cardiac arrests and people overboard.

This amount is an increase of more than a dozen on the previous year and the first time this decade that the number of incidents has surpassed 60.

These reports saw 49 people requiring some kind of hospital treatment, while the period also saw four fatalities - though two of these did not relate to boating.

The figures, revealed in the authority's annual health and safety report, have led to renewed safety advice being offered to those who venture onto the region's most famous waterways, with a particular emphasis on the importance of life jackets.

Steve Birtles, health and safety officer at the Broads Authority, said: "The best advice I can give for people is to understand the conditions of each part of the Broads you visit - different parts will have their own individual characteristics such as water velocity and river flow.

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"One of the other key messages we put across is taking extreme care when getting on and off vessels - it is never worth taking a giant leap for mankind as these are the times injuries happen and people fall in."

Mr Birtles also emphasised the importance of wearing flotation devices whenever moving around vessels and taking caution when walking close to the water.

However, he added that he felt the figures were most likely a result of more reports being made - as opposed to more incidents occurring.

He added: "With greater means of communication nowadays, through things like social media, far fewer incidents will go unreported.

"However, considering the millions of people who visit the Broads each year the figure is still relatively small in the grand scheme of things."

The incidents reported include several occasions in which people needed rescuing from the water and a case in which a vessel exploded at Griffin Marina near Norwich.

However, not all of the incidents relate to occasions where a safety breach has occurred - with technological issues with vessels and medical conditions also accounted for.

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