Boatyards Help Solve Channel Marker Problem

Steel posts which were temporarily installed on bends on the River Ant to mark the navigation channel have been replaced by yacht-friendly markers in response to concerns from sailors.

The Broads Hire Boat Federation, Eastwood Whelpton at Upton, Norfolk Broads Yachting Company at Horning, the Hunter Fleet and Swallowtail Boatyard at Ludham, the Broads Authority and Broadland Environmental Services Ltd (BESL) which is carrying out flood defence work, have contributed to the costs of removing the 30 steel posts, which the Authority has already replaced with green self righting marker buoys.

Five posts were removed by Friday April 3rd and the remaining three below Ludham Bridge are expected to be removed by Good Friday. The remainder above the bridge will be removed in the week after Easter.

Paul Greasley, a member of the Broads Authority’s Navigation Committee and chairman of the BHBF which co-ordinated the change-over, said: "The posts were potentially a hazard for yachts particularly when running with the wind. The BHBF therefore engaged a private contractor paid for by a consortium of organisations to remove the posts and in their place the Broads Authority agreed to provide more yacht friendly markers, thus addressing what could have proved to be a serious problem during the sailing season."

Trudi Wakelin, Broads Authority’s Director of Waterways said:"I am delighted that the industry has found a solution that will please all parties. In recent times the River Ant has been greatly improved for sailing. It is wider, deeper, and hazardous piling and overhanging trees and scrub have been removed. Once the riverside reed bed has been adequately re-established we will remove the floating markers."

The green posts, which stand 2m above high water level, were installed on bends between How Hill and Ant Mouth to warn boaters about the low banks created by flood defence work until reed growth had been restored.

Posts have been traditionally used by the Broads Authority for the last 20 years. It was decided that taller posts should be used to make them more visible after a hire boat impaled itself on a post on Haddiscoe Cut during a high tide.

The Broads Authority has sent a warning to boat hire yards that boats must take care to stay in the marked channel particularly over Easter when spring tides are forecast. If they stray from the channel they will risk going aground on the new river banks and possibly even becoming stranded in old soke dykes.

Date Added - 13-Apr-2009

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