Archive for April, 2020

April 6, 2020

Spring Newsletter 2020

April 4, 2020

Covid-19 Issues, Advice … … and general NSBA-updates

This is not the year we all planned into our boating diaries.
Both this last weekend 4/5-April, and this week following look particularly inviting to get out onto the water, but please follow Central Government advice and,

                      “Stay-at-Home” !

Very recently there has been some churning of issues as regards fallout from coronavirus advice; both Broads-Beat (Police) and Broads-Control (Broads Authority) have been inundated with public calls about hire craft being out and about;  actually these referred to multiple sightings of the same single person hiring a fortnight out of Wroxham before lock-down, who traversed to the southern Broads, kept himself-to-himself,  but who was expected home this coming weekend.

Presently NSBA does not encourage travelling to and from marinas or moorings, and taking to the water should not happen until such time as Central Government has reassessed the Covid situation.

Where craft are in a marina or lie close together at recognised moorings and where a mutually supportive rota has been established for checking on craft, the rota should now include locals who can walk to the site,  but probably not to include travellers from perhaps as far afield as Norwich !
While it might appear to some that getting out onto the water is potentially a very social-distancing activity, it is potential fallout which could become an issue; emergency support if called upon, may itself be put in health-jeopardy and travel to/from the boat is potentially at variance with advice;  it sends the ‘wrong’ message of irresponsibility to onlookers.
During recent Government briefing it was explicitly stated that, “… travel to second homes [ as boats might be described ] is not sanctioned …”.

Yacht Station at Norwich is closed, and those at Reedham and at Gt.Yarmouth have been opened, this being,  “… for safety purposes of liveaboarders who need to access shoreside for vital services …”;   if traffic is perceived as minimal (being reviewed weekly), then both of these will close again shortly.

Tolls is another major current issue being the source of much rumour:
It is quite untrue that Hire Craft are not being asked to pay;  the situation being that hire boats that are not being used and are effectively in storage in their own yards, do not incur a toll and if craft remain ashore then tolls are not payable, but as soon as they go afloat for hire the toll once again becomes due (and indeed at potentially a higher short-term rate).
Broads Authority has published its information [hyper-linked] and while there may very well be frustrations that private owners have in not being able to use their vessels, the Broads Authority is prepared to give careful consideration to exceptional circumstances of financial concerns for boaters unable to meet their commitments.

Having been in discussion with Broads Authority it is quite clear that BA is keenly aware of critical impact on its Tolls income due both to reduced tourism and hirings and to private owners potentially not launching for the whole season. With this in mind BA has already made application to DEFRA for special consideration for critical minimum additional funding;  NSBA has been asked by boaters whether to expect Tolls support and in this respect it is felt that NSBA should primarily support BA’s case rather than drive a separate distraction which might be seen as trying, “to burn the candle at both ends”. It would best benefit boaters if most can be made of one principal line of bidding to ensure that the Navigation Budget remains viable beyond July.

NSBA General Purposes Committee took a tough decision at short notice in cancelling the recently scheduled Flag Officers’ Event,  but that does not mean that we’ve stopped doing other ‘stuff’.

NSBA is actively in direct contact with Network Rail regarding their proposed programmes of renovation work on the Swing-Bridges, this being scheduled between Oct-2021 and Mar-2024 through those three successive winters.
NSBA is now also a front-line consultee regarding potential mitigation during any proposed closure by Network Rail as unfortunately happened during the last Christmas holiday period.
  Haven Bridge at Gt.Yarmouth has its problems and NSBA forwarded complaints through RYA (East Region) to the RYA(HQ) legal support desk to apply pressure on ‘Highways’.
NSBA was particularly active with RYA through the last 6-months of Inspection of the Gt.Yarmouth Third River Crossing project. We were able to make representations and were involved in a hazard identification workshop. We have gained some potential benefits for boaters and feel that our involvement has been valuable.

NSBA understands the significant impact that the coronavirus is having on many people both in terms of their own and their family’s health and livelihoods, as well as with disrupted leisure plans in general.
As much as we love boating on The Broads, we need to be sensible and pragmatic about what is possible. The Committee will be reviewing the season and revising its plans and responses in the context of the potentially devastating effect this disease may have on activities and our communities.

NSBA also recognise that once this crisis is over, organising future events will not be a top priority for everyone, or easy, and that there will be long term economic and travel difficulties for everyone.
However NSBA is standing by to swiftly adjust schedules and reorganise its events in a responsible way, with a considered approach to take into account everyone’s safety and well-being.

Finally, and above all,  please recognise the three words of,  “Stay at Home”.
If you are eventually able to go boating, please remember that initially it may be not yet be classed as a social event, but simply a time for personal exercise only, like going for a run or a cycle-ride (this is not yet the case, but looking into possibilities for the future while we await further instructions or advice).

For the short-term do,    Stay at Home !

Stay safe and wash your hands … and we’ll meet again once it is all over.

Chair, NSBA

April 4, 2020

Suspension of Haven Bridge openings – Covid-19

MARINERS ARE HEREBY ADVISED that we have suspended Haven Bridge openings to non- essential passage, with immediate effect. This decision has been taken in the interest of safeguarding our employees, by limiting their exposure to others and maintaining social distancing, where practically possible.

Access to commercial vessel traffic for “key worker” status businesses and pilot boats, life boats and similar will be permitted, where possible. Leisure crafts will unfortunately be denied passage as they are considered non-essential. It is our plan to resume normal service when Government advice suggests it is safe to do so.

On behalf of Harbour Master 02/04/2020