Broads pub climbs aboard waterside safety scheme
PUBLISHED: 17:41 18 April 2018 | UPDATED: 20:30 18 April 2018
A scheme designed to prevent people from drowning in waterways across the Broads has launched at a pub in Acle.
The waterside safety programme was launched by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) in partnership with the police’s Broads Beat unit and the Broads Authority.
The landlord of the Acle Bridge Inn, Philip Hannon, and eight of his staff were taught how to use a throw bag, which can be used to retrieve people who fall in the nearby River Bure.
Having practised on the grass, Jim Whiteside from Lowland Rescue volunteered to thrash about in the river as staff put their skills to test with a wet rehearsal.
Eight of the nine throws were successful, with the one wayward attempt accompanied by a cry of, “sorry!”
Nick Ayers, the RNLI community safety partner who led the training, said: “They did fantastically well, especially with a big audience.
“Research has found that around a quarter of all adult drowning victims have alcohol in their bloodstream so this training scheme could ultimately help save a life.”
Even in the pleasant weather conditions of the day, Mr Ayers said the water could be very dangerous.
He added: “The water around the Broads at the moment is about 7 Celsius. Cold water can shock happen in anything below 15.”
Landlord, Mr Hannon, said naivety was often to blame for water-based accidents.
He said: “A lot of people take their life jackets off as soon as they moor up, but they will actually need it most when they leave and try to get back in the boat.
“You can’t pin the blame down to drink alone, that’s too easy. It’s naivety more than stupidity. People are excited about being on a boat and they’re not thinking about what they’re doing.”
Keith Phillips, special constable at Broads Beat, said: “We’re not here to spoil people’s fun, but we do need to highlight water-based safety risks.
“We’re trying to discourage people from entering the water to attempt rescues, because you can end up in a situation where someone unnecessarily loses their life.”
Venues across the Broads are encouraged to sign up for the training at www.rnli.org/pages/throw-bag-training