'Be water aware' warning as boy seen swinging on rails of hire boat
- Credit: Broads Beat
A Broads Beat manager has told of his shock at seeing a young boy swinging from the railings of a hire boat.
PC Paul Bassham, a beat manager based at Hoveton Station alongside his colleague Amy Barrell, said the incident occurred at Acle Marina on Saturday, April 24 at around 11am - with the family receiving "strong words of warning" as a result.
He said: "We were patrolling the River Bure in relation to a different investigation and were moored up at Acle. We saw this hire boat coming round the corner, and a young lad without a life jacket was hanging off the rails at the bow.
"The dad, who was at the front with him, was completely oblivious. He was looking the other way."
PC Bassham explained that himself and PC Barrell caught up with the boat and explained to the father why this kind of behaviour risked his son "becoming another statistic".
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"The dad was very apologetic", he explained. "We didn't want to ruin their holiday and we didn't hit them with any enforcement action. We wanted to educate them about the risks and encourage them to really think about what they were doing."
The focus on river safety comes as the National Fire Chiefs' "Be Water Aware" campaign takes centre stage this week.
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PC Bassham said: "We know people will be flocking to the Broads this summer, but water safety has never been more important.
"The area around Great Yarmouth is particularly tidal and dangerous."
He said he recommended people using the Aweigh app - designed to assist with navigation on the Norfolk Broads - and also What Three Words app, which gives your precise location to potential rescuers if you find yourself in trouble.
The officer continued: "Everyone who heads to the Broads this summer absolutely needs to be water aware, with the person at the helm concentrating at all times.
"We had an incident at Ludham with a private hire boat recently and a man getting crushed by his own boat. On that occasion the air ambulance had to be called.
"We want to avoid that at all costs."