Ensuring Safety Onboard

Promote a safe boating holiday for you and your crew by adhering to the following safety guidelines. This vital information can also be found in the Skipper Manual on your cruiser.

Safety Gear Life Jackets & Buoyancy Aids

Upon your arrival, each adult in your group will receive a self-inflating life jacket, while children will be given orange buoyancy aids. It’s your responsibility to ensure that these fit correctly before departure. It’s crucial to wear your life jacket or buoyancy aid while on deck, during mooring, or when casting off, irrespective of your swimming skills.

Continually monitor children and ensure their safety on deck or near the water’s edge.

Life Ring

Each of our cruisers comes equipped with a life ring, typically located at the boat’s rear. This must always be ready for use, and everyone should know its location. The life ring is a safety device, not a toy, and should only be used in emergencies.

Should you need to use the life ring, ensure that the boat is stationary with the engine turned off. Throw the life ring near the person in the water, but never directly at them as life rings are heavy and could cause injury or concussion.

Fire and Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Every cruiser in our fleet comes fitted with at least one carbon monoxide and smoke detector, depending on the cruiser’s size.

Fire Blankets & Fire Extinguishers

All our cruisers are equipped with fire blankets and fire extinguishers.

Maintaining Safety Onboard Boarding and Disembarking

Always wear your life jacket or buoyancy aid when boarding or disembarking. Avoid jumping the gap between the quay and the boat as you could slip into it. Instead, pull the boat closer with a mooring rope and step on board or ashore carefully.

Be mindful of potential hazards on waterside paths, banks, quays, and remember that quay headings may be slippery when wet. Exercise special caution after dark, always carry a torch, and leave a light on in the boat.

Do not use your hands, feet, or legs to prevent your boat from colliding with the bank, a bridge, or another boat. You could get seriously injured. Always use a fender or boat hook instead. Do not use your feet to push off your boat inside a bridge.

Never attempt to jump off or between moving boats. A slip or fall could lead to serious injuries.

On Deck

Ensure everyone on board wears their life jacket or buoyancy aid while on deck. The walkways on deck can be narrow and slippery, so always wear shoes with non-slip soles and use the grab rails when moving around the deck, especially when the boat is in motion. Refrain from mopping the decks when the boat is moving and take extra care in winter conditions, especially during ice or snow.

Avoid dangling your arms or legs overboard, whether the boat is moving or stationary, as this could lead to injuries.

Do not sit, stand, or lie on the boat roof when the boat is underway as you could be thrown overboard in the event of a collision. Also, ensure everyone is below the cabin-top level when passing under bridges.

All mooring ropes should be kept neatly coiled when not in use. Be careful not to stand on ropes while moving around on deck, as they could roll under your feet and cause you to lose your balance. Also, be careful not to trap your fingers between the rope and the mooring post or ring. If using the boat hook from a moving craft, take extra care as it’s easy to be pulled overboard.

Navigating Safely

Always adhere to speed limits and don’t plan too long a journey in the time you have available. Night cruising is not allowed, so plan your journey so that you’re moored at least one hour before sunset and avoid cruising in conditions of poor visibility.

Keep in mind that your boat has no brakes, so you’ll need to put it in reverse and allow for extra time to stop. Always plan ahead.

Take into consideration the water and weather conditions when manoeuvring your boat. If possible, always approach a mooring against the tide, current, or wind.

Avoid drinking and driving. It’s vital to stay alert while on the water. The Broads Authority recommends that the helmsman doesn’t consume alcohol until the boat is moored for the night.

Be cautious of small craft, which can be easy to overlook, especially when they are near but obscured by your boat’s superstructure, or when you’re looking towards a low sun.

Should a rescue operation become necessary, always turn the boat towards the person in the water. Never reverse towards anyone in the water as they could get caught in the boat’s propeller and be seriously injured.

Man Overboard Procedure Ensure all your crew members understand the following procedure and rescue drill.

If you fall into the water, please follow these instructions to aid your rescue:

Call out loudly to alert the rest of the crew to your situation.
Avoid trying to swim; the shock of falling in can cause you to lose your breath. Float on your back, spreading your arms to aid buoyancy.
Be ready to grab any floating material nearby or anything thrown to you.

Rescue Drill

The person who first spots the individual in the water should alert all on board and point out the person’s location to the driver. If the distance is not too great, throw a life ring or other floating material near the person. Avoid throwing directly at the person, as they could get hit and injured.

The driver should immediately steer the boat towards the person, taking the propeller away from them. The boat should then be manoeuvred at a slow pace to a point a few yards away. Once in position, stop the engine or take it out of gear. Then throw a life ring or rope close enough for the person to grab it.

Everyone involved in the rescue should wear a buoyancy aid. Lift the person on board, preferably from the side, well away from the propeller. Using a looped rope is best as the person can slip it over their shoulders. If a dinghy is available, it might be more practical to use it. In that case, recover the person over the dinghy’s back, not the bows or the side.

Do not jump into the water unless the person is unconscious or unable to help themselves, and then only as a last resort when there are enough people left on the boat to ensure your safe retrieval. Even then, only one person should enter the water, wearing a buoyancy aid and secured to a rope held by another crew member.

After the rescue, remove the person’s wet clothing, keep them warm, and provide a hot drink. If there are signs of injury, call for medical assistance. Dial 999 for emergency medical help or 0845 4647 for non-emergencies.