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Good afternoon everyone,

I’d like to wish a warm and long-awaited welcome to all of the boaters, walkers and paddlers returning to the Broads. We have been really pleased to see more boats out on the rivers and Broads during the last few weeks. It feels as if things are beginning to get back to something like normal.

Yacht Stations and Visitor Centres are now open, with our centre re-opening at Ranworth Staithe. Do say hello to our staff if you visit the site.

Our new safety videos for hirers are finished and distributed, and new additional Rangers have been trained and are out patrolling in the launches. These actions are all part of the safety package the Authority has put in place in expectation of a busy season.

We are installing the concrete pads for the new pontoon moorings at Carlton Marshes and I am looking forward to seeing them when I visit the site in mid-May. I am hoping that it will be well used by boats whose owners or hirers want to either access the long-distance footpath or the nature reserve and Suffollk Wildlife Trust’s brilliant new visitor centre.

Please see this month's Broads Briefing below:
May 2021

Maintenance updates

  • New bridge height gauge boards have been installed upstream of Ludham Bridge to replace and relocate the old signs, which had been hit and badly damaged.
  • The grass at all BA moorings has been cut twice during April. The photo later in the briefing is of a Trainee Operations Technician mowing our Langley 24-hour moorings.
  • Our water plant cutting programme started up again last week on the river Thurne in the Somerton and Martham area.
  • Two concrete pads have been installed at Peto's Marsh at Suffolk Wildlife Trust’s Carlton Marshes nature reserve, in preparation for a new pontoon to be fitted by contractors later in May.
  • Next week, we start work in-house on a 200m improvement to a permissive path at How Hill between the skeleton mills on the riverbank.
  • The team spent several days at St Benet's 24-hour mooring, installing 60m of timber capping to open up as much mooring as possible, prior to contractors starting work on the site later this month.
  • Also at St Benet’s, to aid navigation, we have installed two new Sutton and Stalham directional signs, which can be seen clearly from both directions at the Ant mouth from the River Bure.
  • Contractors have recently refurbished 100m of quay heading timber at How Hill, as part of a three-phase work programme to refurbish the 300m long moorings.
  • Operations Technicians have completed bank and riverside tree work at Sutton Fen on the River Ant, along the Upper Bure and at Rockland Broad.
Bridge height gauge board
One of the new gauge boards near Ludham

Ranworth Information Centre

The re-opened Ranworth visitor centre has had a makeover and we hope visitors will enjoy the new video display of vintage films showing the history of Broads boating holidays throughout the 20th century. There’s lots of useful information about things to see and do in the Broads, as well as souvenirs and Norfolk-made ice cream.

Ranworth Information Centre (Farm Lane, The Staithe, Ranworth, NR13 6HY) is open from 9am – 5pm daily until the end of October.

Please see our website for further details: Visitor centres (

Inside Ranworth Information Centre
Information Officer Maureen inside Ranworth Information Centre

Dredging progress

  • Our planned dredging work at Catfield Dyke is now complete and the navigation is open again.
  • Dredging is currently taking place on the River Waveney at Oulton Broad.
  • We are required to replace our work excavators every 10 years and so we’ve recently purchased a new JCB 180 excavator to replace the identical one purchased in 2010. It weighs 19.5 tonnes and has a 12m reach. It’s currently being used to move dredged material removed from Oulton Broad back in 2020, and then pumped into the site alongside Carlton Marshes. After a number of years, the area will eventually become reed bed habitat.
New JCB 180 excavator
New JCB 180 excavator

Safety videos

The Authority and partners have released a new series of videos, to help inform all boat hirers how to stay safe on the Broads. The videos cover topics such as: preparing for your holiday before you leave, how to stay safe, what to do if someone falls overboard, navigating bridges, ropes and knots, how to moor up, crossing Breydon Water and a guide to paddle sports.

Visit our YouTube channel to view and share the videos: Broads Boating Essentials (

One of our new trainee Operation Technicians cutting the grass at Langley moorings
One of our new trainee Operation Technicians cutting the grass at Langley moorings

Climate change work

This week there has been much talk of COP26 – the UN Climate Change Conference to be held in Glasgow at the beginning of November.

We are continuing to monitor our own carbon emissions and in particular are exploring ways to reduce the carbon budget of the operational work of the Authority. We have been able to secure a supply of Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) for use in various plant and vessels.

The fuel is certified as a direct diesel replacement, even capable of being mixed in the same tank and gives a 90% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions, so could potentially be a very positive route whilst other technological developments are brought to the marine and heavy-plant engine markets, such as hydrogen fuel cells.

We are also continuing to work closely with boating businesses, New Anglia and Hethel Innovation on plans to promote the use of new technologies. An Electrifying the Broads bid is being developed for submission to the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition.

New Rangers settling in

We are delighted to extend a warm welcome to our new recruits and returning seasonal staff, who started back at the beginning of March, a little earlier than the usual start of the season. This was to fit in extra training necessary to ensure their work is COVID-19 compliant. Two new Seasonal Rangers also started on 1 March (from existing posts).

As part of our new package of safety measures and to increase Ranger patrols, we welcomed four new Assistant Seasonal Rangers, two of which were former Ranger Volunteers.

I look forward to seeing you out on the Broads, in what we anticipate will be an extremely busy season.

Volunteers and staff installing pad at Peto's Marsh
Volunteers and staff installing concrete pads at Peto's Marsh

Successful prosecutions

This year, six boaters have been prosecuted for numerous counts of failing to navigate with care and caution and of breaking the speed limit on the Norfolk and Suffolk Broads.

We hope that these cases will be a deterrent to others and raise awareness to river users of the importance of keeping to speed limits, and navigating with care and attention.

We recently recruited a new Senior Ranger, working on Compliance and Safety. This is a newly-created post, to help process prosecutions and compliance with the Boat Safety Scheme. This role will free up time currently spent by Rangers preparing case files for offences such as speeding and non-payment of tolls.

Prosecution is always a last resort, used once all other conversations and avenues have failed.

Read the full story on our website: Three more boaters prosecuted for navigation offences (

Please look after yourselves and remember you can contact me directly if you have any questions. If you know of anyone else who would like to receive my briefings please pass on this link

Best wishes, 

John Packman
Chief Executive


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