Below are answers to some frequently asked questions regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the Broads.
(Page last updated 15 May)
From Wednesday 13 May, you are now able to visit the Broads (on a day trip, no overnight stays) for a number of additional purposes assuming you adhere to social distancing guidelines and only do so with members of your own household.
Below is a list of some example activities that are now permitted:
Access to the area for these recreational purposes is possible by driving, as well as by cycle/foot. The Government have stated that there is no limit on the distance or duration of journey to reach the area, however please be mindful that only day visits are allowed and avoid driving long distances.
Please visit the Coronavirus information page for more information.
Yes you can, providing you follow social distancing guidelines and do not have any overnight stays.
Please consider the following points before your visit:
Finally, please be caring, kind and considerate of local residents who may be nervous about the risks of increased numbers of people accessing the Broads and the waterways.
The message from the UK Government remains clear that spending the night away from your primary residence is not acceptable in the current circumstances. This includes holiday homes, caravans, camper vans and of course boats.
We do not set the rules in this regard, however we support the current reasoning behind it to slow the spread of Coronavirus.
We are aware that this means only certain boat owners may be able to access the Broads at this moment in time, as only day visits are permitted and it is not sensible/feasible to drive extremely long distances to come here. This is a necessary precaution, and boat owners should wait for further instructions from the Government over the coming months regarding overnight stays away fron your primary residence.
The Authority will be working with local police forces and communities to identify those who are not following the Government lockdown instructions. Enforcement may be taken by the police, and we urge people to consider that the fines for not obeying lockdown instructions has drastically increased from 13 May onwards.
We and our partners ask for your cooperation by following the good spirit of this decision to give greater freedom for outdoor access, applying your common sense and not seeking to identify or exploit loopholes in the Government's guidance. The closer we follow the instructions, the more effective we will be in slowing the spread of Coronavirus and the sooner things can return to normality.
You are able to enjoy angling in private fisheries from 13 May onwards, and take part in coarse fishing on the Broads waterways when the season opens on 16 June. Please note you will need a rod fishing license to coarse fish. Night fishing is permitted, but this is not an excuse to stay aboard your boat overnight.
Yes you can, providing you follow the existing restrictions in place and maintain social distancing.
Although previously asked to close under the classification of caravan parks, Defra has confirmed (14/05) that marinas may re-open to allow people to visit their boats to carry out maintenance or take them out on the river, ensuring appropriate measures are in place to follow social distancing guidelines.
Marina operators are able to decide the manner in which they open and the freedoms they will offer to those who have craft in their marina.
If it is safe to do so, boat owners should be allowed by the marina operator to sit in, work on and use their craft.
This is primarily a matter for the marina operators to decide, but if it can be done safely following social distancing guidelines then it should be possible.
Please remember that private boating is permitted on the Broads waterways for day trips only.
The Broads Authority has received confirmation from the Government that the new guidance is to allow private individuals greater freedom to enjoy the great outdoors and access recreational activities, whilst safely following social distancing measures.
At this moment in time (13 May), the UK Government have not stated that the hiring of vessels in any form (whether motor, sailing or paddle craft) or provision of lessons is able to resume likely due to challenges around social distancing.
If operators have any questions regarding the likely re-opening of these areas these should be directed to the UK Government.
The Broads Authority will endeavour to communicate any news regarding the above when we are able to do so.
The Broads Authority has been advised by Defra that it is not appropriate for commercial boating operations to resume at this moment in time.
Commercial boating operations may resume when the hospitality sector is anticipating starting to re-open in July 2020. Please await more information from the Government.
The Boat Safety Scheme (BSS) has announced that they are allowing a temporary extension to safety certificates for those craft requiring an examination in the period until 31 July. This is to provide additional leeway to boat owners.
For more information please see the BSS website.
We have received confirmation from Network Rail that from Thursday 14 May the rail swing bridges will be able to open on demand as usual.
Mutford Lock and Swing Bridge are able to open at 24 hours notice (to ensure that correct social distancing is catered for). Please book transit by calling 07572 039790.
Whilst the new rules allow greater freedom for private boat owners to access their vessels and the Broads network, the Authority will continue to work with those who live aboard their vessels to ensure they continue to have access to moorings and facilities as required.
We advise any person who lives aboard their vessel and is concerned to get in touch with Broads Control and our Ranger team on 01603 756056 for help and advice.
Private boats that are kept or used in the Broads navigation area or adjacent waters do still need to be tolled, regardless of whether the Government lockdown meant they could not be accessed. We fully appreciate the frustrations that some private owners have had in not being able to use their vessels during this time, coupled with financial concerns that many are facing.
We ask for your understanding that your tolls have funded essential navigation works which, because they have carried on throughout the COVID-19 shutdown, have meant that the Authority was in a position to welcome boats back to the water before other inland navigation authorities.
If you are having difficulty paying your toll or are experiencing financial concerns, the Authority will give careful consideration to exceptional circumstances. Please speak to our Tolls Team on 01603 756080 for more information and advice.
There is provision within the Broads Act (2009) that any hire boat that is effectively in storage and not being used does not need to be tolled. This is normally applied when a boat is for sale or in need of repair. We have reminded the hire boat industry of this exception whilst they are not able to hire boats out at this moment in time.
If hiring is able to resume later on in the season, an annual toll will be required for each vessel used.
The Broads Authority will continue essential maintenance and Ranger patrols of the Broads to ensure the safety of those on the water and to ensure the waterways are in good shape when we are all able to access them again. We will continue to do so unless Government instructions tell us otherwise.
Friday 27 March 2020