Life jacket reminder following dramatic rescue of 4 year old child

The quick thinking and heroic actions of a Broads Authority Quay Assistant at Great Yarmouth Yacht Station saved the life a 4 year old child this week prompting reminders about the use of life jackets.

The 4 year old girl who was enjoying a family boating holiday in the Broads National Park was not wearing a life jacket. They had just moored their boat at the popular yacht station when the child unexpectedly dashed to the quayside and fell into the river.

Gary Cotton immediately sprang into action: “It was an extremely dangerous situation, made worse by the fact the little girl had fallen between the boat and the quay wall. I managed to push the boat away from the wall to create space. I could see that the girl had no life jacket and was already sinking below the water surface so I jumped in with my arms spread so that I could grab her. Once in the water I knew I only had 2 or 3 seconds to locate and push her up to the surface.”

Gary then also had to help get the girl’s teenage sister to safety after she jumped into the water to help.

Gary Cotton

The little girl was unhurt, although she had swallowed some water from the river. Her older sister had a graze to her leg. Other Broads Authority staff assisted until an ambulance arrived and paramedics checked the girl’s condition.

The incident happened on Tuesday (morning) 15 August. John Packman, Chief Executive of the Broads Authority was at the yacht station when the accident happened.

“I was incredibly impressed by the actions of my colleague. Gary jumped into the water without hesitation. Without his very quick response I fear the outcome would have been very different.

“The incident has dramatically underlined the importance of the message that we and the boatyards give to everyone about the importance of wearing life jackets particularly when getting on and off a boat. Neither of the girls were wearing life jackets and even strong swimmers can get into difficulty very quickly in cold, fast-flowing water. I urge everyone to use life jackets without fail.”

The Broads Authority offers the following safety advice to anyone boating on the Broads:

  • Always wear a buoyancy aid on boats, while getting on and off and when close to the water's edge. Wear sensible clothing and shoes.
  • Keep a close eye on children who can fall overboard without anyone noticing
  • Don't swim – no matter how hot it is, the water in the rivers and broads is always cold and shock from cold can kill. Also you won't be seen by boaters.
  • Don't jump off a moving boat and don't sit on the front deck of a day boat
  • Don't try to stop your boat by pushing with your hand or foot
  • Don't reverse your boat towards anyone in the water – that's where the propeller i

Monday 21 August 2017