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Stay safe message on the Broads

PUBLISHED: 10:44 27 July 2009 | UPDATED: 14:30 03 July 2010

MOORING up and stepping off a cruiser in bright, sunny weather eventually becomes a breeze even for inexperienced holidaymakers.

But picture the scene a few hours later on your return from the pub.

MOORING up and stepping off a cruiser in bright, sunny weather eventually becomes a breeze even for inexperienced holidaymakers.

But picture the scene a few hours later on your return from the pub. It is pitch black, the uneven quay has become an obstacle course... and you have had one too many drinks.

To coincide with the start of the peak holiday season, the Broads Authority today launches a new safety drive aimed at boaters on a night out with the blunt message Stay Alert - Don't Fall In.

To back up the campaign it is issuing 1,000 wind-up torches for £1 each and publishing a poster that carries the stark warning that killer heels really can live up to their name when it comes to getting on and off boats.

Over the past two years there have been no boating-related deaths on the Broads, but, of 11 injuries needing hospital treatment last season, six were caused when people were stepping on and off boats.

Steve Birtles, authority head of waterways strategy and safety, said: “We want to make people aware of the dangers and the need for them to stay alert, not drink too much and take care, particularly when it is dark. Many moorings don't have lighting, and nor does the walk to and from the pub. It may well be light when you leave the boat but will probably be dark when you return, so we advise people to always keep a torch to hand as a vital piece of equipment. The wooden moorings and boats are often damp and slippery at night, and the big danger is of falling between your boat and the quay.”

And David Broad, lead Broads Authority member on boat safety, said: “We want skippers to take responsibility and 'hold a torch' for all aspects of safety, and crews to take their time and extra care. Accidents can spoil a holiday.”

The posters and wind-up torches will be a feature at yacht stations, tourist information centres, pubs and riverside shops. Torches are also available from Broads Authority navigation rangers and the authority's Norwich offices.

The authority is trying out other measures at its 24-hour moorings, including glow-in-the-dark fluorescent discs and reflectors on mooring posts. If successful, these will be rolled out to other unlit moorings near pubs.

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