Coronavirus (COVID-19) information

In light of the current situation regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19), the Broads Authority has issued the following update regarding the infection and how it will impact both our work and the Broads area.

Please also see our main COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions, our liveaboard information page and remember to get in touch if you have any further questions.

(Page last updated 15 May)

Broads Authority statement 13 May: Government confirms that private boats can use Broads waterways

The Broads Authority has today received confirmation from Defra that privately owned powered boats can be used on the Broads for day trips as long as other guidance on social distancing is followed. This follows guidance issued earlier this week that allowed sailing and paddle boating (including canoes, kayaks and paddle-boards) to resume.

Whilst other inland waterways face a delay in the return of powered private boats, the Broads is able to welcome boaters back because maintenance of the waterways has continued throughout the COVID-19 lockdown.

John Packman, Chief Executive of the Broads Authority said:

“I want to thank our private boat owners that have continued to pay their tolls during a period when they were not able to enjoy the Broads. It is because of this that we were able to continue the essential work needed to enable their safe return. There are delays in other areas because the navigation authorities need to complete safety checks and make good any problems before boats can return. Whilst I still urge all boaters to take appropriate measures to stay safe and follow Government guidelines it will be great to see people back on the water. We all have a responsibility to ensure that our exercise and recreation does not have a negative impact on our communities and those that have worked so tirelessly to enable some relaxation to the restrictions during this terrible time.”

Whilst the public are advised to stay at home as much as possible, from today (13 May) you are now able to leave your home and travel to exercise or spend time outdoors.

As well as the relaxation of boating restrictions, owners may also visit their boats for leisure or to do maintenance but are not able to stay overnight away from their usual residence (so day trips only).

The Authority urges people to take care to follow guidelines and respect social distancing and to bear in mind that many businesses associated with boating may not yet be able to open.  It is also essential that boaters contact marinas where their vessels are moored directly to see if they are able to access them as some businesses may not be open or able to facilitate safe access.

The revised guidance on returning to work (if you are not able to do so from home) may also mean that some businesses may be able to re-open whilst others cannot. As well as restrictions business owners will have to judge it is safe to re-open and if they can apply social distancing/precautionary measures to protect staff and customers.

Before accessing the Broads:

  • Plan ahead –to ensure the safety of those around you and try to avoid areas that may attract lots of people.
  • Check with any facilities that you wish to use before you travel. Be aware that many businesses that support boating may not yet be able to open and this could affect marinas where your boat is normally moored and services such as fuel and pump out stations.
  • Only use your boat if you can apply social distancing at all times, including when mooring your vessel to leave a safe distance from others.
  • Travel with members of your household only, if no one in the group is displaying COVID-19 symptoms.
  • You may only meet with people that are not within your household if you apply social distancing. You should not meet with more than one person outside your household
  • Be aware of the impact on emergency services if you were to get into difficulties. Think about what action you will take if your boat breaks down – recovery services may not be operating
  • Apply all normal sensible safety precautions and always wear a life jacket when on deck.
  • Pubs and restaurants are not allowed to open as normal – although some may offer takeaway services. Check with any businesses you wish to visit before you leave home.
  • Be caring and considerate of local residents who may be nervous about the risks of increased numbers of people accessing the Broads and the waterways.

Whilst we are all pleased that we can access the Broads again, the threat of Coronavirus is still very real. It is up to all of us to ensure the guidelines are followed to help save lives and protect our NHS.

Please see our Frequently Asked Questions page for more information.

coronavirus guidance

Further advice for boaters

Broads Authority Rangers will continue to patrol the Broads and Broads Control (01603 756056) remains in operation for those who are on board their boats. Private boat owners should be vigilant and mindful of bridge heights in the Lower Bure. They will be able to call the Great Yarmouth Yacht Station for advice on 01493 842794 / 07766 398238.

Broads Authority Yacht Stations at Great Yarmouth and Reedham Quay are open in the interests of public safety because mooring at these locations can be challenging. The Norwich Yacht Station will remain closed for the forseeable future.

If you are on board your boat in rural or isolated areas, make sure you inform friends or relatives where you are going and that you know your precise location in case you start to feel unwell. If there is a medical emergency the emergency services will be able to identify your location more easily if you have a postcode or a ‘what3words’ phrase.

You can identify your exact location using a ‘what3words phrase’. You can do this using the what3words smartphone app. Alternatively if you locate your position on http://www.streetmap.co.uk . You can then get the ‘what3words’ phrase using the “click here to convert coordinates” link just under the map. Google Maps does not provide a ‘what3words’ phrase but can accept one.

If you want to contact the Broads rangers to report an incident, you can phone Broads Control on 01603 756056 or email Broads.control@broads-authority.gov.uk.

Always phone 999 in case of emergency.

We will keep the situation under active review and update you in line with changing circumstances and guidance.

Tourist Information Services

Our Visitor Information Centres are closed to the public. We can however offer information over the phone and email (01603 756097 or 01603 782281 hovetontic@broads-authority.gov.uk) and on Visit the Broads.

Many of our services are continuing to operate such as planning with members of staff working from home. We thank you for your understanding and patience during this time.

Information for businesses

Please see the below links for useful information for tourism businesses:

There is also information for businesses and visitors on the Visit the Broads website.

Health information

Check these sites for the latest advice:

Use NHS 111, pharmacies and GPs responsibly, and only go to hospital if you really need to. See: When to go to A&E

Other information

Impact on the Broads Authority's operations

We have issued guidance from Public Health England to our staff and members on how they need to respond, including additional hygiene measures that must be put in place (particularly in our premises) to prevent further spreading of the infection.

1. Meetings

Management have taken the decision to postpone non-urgent committee meetings and gatherings to minimise the potential for spreading COVID-19.

The following meetings have been cancelled:

  • Broads Local Access Forum, 11 March
  • Broads Parish Forum, 18 March
  • Broads Authority, 20 March
  • Planning Committee, 03 April
  • Navigation Committee, 23 April
  • Planning Committee, 1 May

2. Events programme

We have cancelled our events programme for the near future. If you have seen promotion of a Broads Authority event online or elsewhere this has now been cancelled unless stated otherwise.

3. Day to day operations

Our office will have reduced staffing levels to minimise contact between employees. The majority of office employees will be working from home, and our reception will be closed to the public. Staffing of reception will continue so phone calls and deliveries can be taken. Toll payments can be taken by phone, post or online.

Our operational work will continue until further notice as this takes place in mostly remote locations.

If you suspect you may be unwell please do not visit any of our premises. If you have a query we will be happy to assist you over the phone (01603 610734) or by email.

4. Planning queries

In accordance with current Government guidance, our Planning Department are mostly working from home. We are encouraging the public to use the planning email for correspondence at this time, rather than calling, as this will enable your enquiry to be dealt with more quickly.

5. Information centres and Yacht Stations

As stated above, our Tourist Information Centres at Hoveton and How Hill will not be opening for the start of season.

Reedham and Great Yarmouth Yacht Stations will open for the start of the season (because of the safety implications). Norwich Yacht Station will not open or be staffed.

6. Volunteering

Unfortunately all volunteering activities with the Broads Authority have ceased until further notice.

Friday 13 March 2020