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Cruiser which sank on River Chet one of nearly 200 boat crashes on Norfolk Broads

The sun sets over the River Chet. Picture: ARCHANT.

The sun sets over the River Chet. Picture: ARCHANT.

Archant

A hire cruiser which recently sank on the River Chet was one of nearly 200 boat crashes on the Norfolk Broads since 2007.

The river Chet, which runs between Chedgrave and Loddon. Picture: ARCHANT.The river Chet, which runs between Chedgrave and Loddon. Picture: ARCHANT.

The vessel, which had two children and two adults on board, started taking on water after hitting a section of sunken quay heading.

It ended up at the “bottom” of the river, near Chedgrave, with only its canopy visible above the water.

The incident, which occurred on July 24 this year, was one of 198 reported collisions on the waterways since April 2007, new figures reveal.

Steve Birtles, health and safety officer for the Broads Authority, said all four people made it off the “30ft” vessel uninjured.

Steve Birtles, health and safety officer for the Broads Authority. Picture: ARCHANT.Steve Birtles, health and safety officer for the Broads Authority. Picture: ARCHANT.

He said: “It happened at the bottom part of the River Chet, before it reaches the River Yare.

“As they went up the river, the back end nudged some redundant quay heading and it made a hole in the back of the boat.

“One of our rangers said all you could see was the boat’s canopy, so it was at the bottom of the river.”

Mr Birtles said inexperience and speed were the main cause of crashes on the Broads.

One of the most serious collisions occurred in August 2016 when a Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB) crashed into a motor cruiser on Oulton Broad.

A man, his partner and two children who were on the RIB were injured in the crash.

The man was found to have been travelling at nearly five times the speed limit and given a suspended prison sentence.

New figures from the Broads Authority revealed that Wroxham was the most common area for boat collisions, with 52 recorded since 2007.

Mr Birtles said it could be due to the high number of hire boats operating from the area.

“You see a lot minor collisions with hirers as they are inexperienced when using boats,” Mr Birtles said.

“They are sometimes unaware of how a boat handles because they have usually just got out of a car.”

Mr Birtles said the type of damage recorded varies from “dinks and dents” to damage costing “a couple of hundred quid” to repair.

The figures show 2008 saw the highest number of collisions, with 27 recorded that year.

As of July this year there has been 10 recorded crashes, including the incident on the River Chet.

After Wroxham, Breydon Water and Ludham were the joint second most common areas for collisions, with 36 each recorded since 2007.

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