By the time you read this I will have interviewed Steve Birtles from the Broads Authority about a new leaflet it's produced. It's headed "Winter Boating" and consists of safety advice most of us would call common sense. Some might call it daft. One of the things you are advised to take with you on the Broads in winter is a VHF radio. And I don't think it's talking about something to entertain you while you await rescue after your hot drink has run out. I assume it means a ship-to-shore transceiver, the sort of device people need training in their proper use.
Are they serious? I shall ask Mr Birtles.
Here's an extract from the leaflet:
In the bleak midwinter ... the Broads can be a lovely, wild place - quiet, full of winter bird life, crisp, cold and invigorating. But please remember there are extra things to consider. It’s quiet because there are fewer people around and winter cold is much more enjoyable if you’re warm and dry with food and a hot drink to hand if needed, than if you’re wet and shivering on a remote riverbank ... Still keen to go? Then read on and Go Boating Safely!
• Check the weather. Keep checking as things can change, and adapt your plans - don’t just carry on regardless.
• Remember, in an open boat or a sailing boat you’re even more vulnerable to the elements and wind chill. Consider getting an immersion (dry) suit with built-in buoyancy.
• Exceptionally high water may cause flooding, and high winds can be dangerous. Rivers may be iced up or have ice in them even if roads are clear.
• Never navigate through icy water. There could be thicker ice hidden under the surface which could damage your boat or even make it sink. Some areas ice up quickly such as Womack Water, Barton Broad, Oulton Broad, Hardley Dyke and Langley Dyke.
• Cold water is dangerous - your chances of survival are extremely low if you fall in.
• Make sure your boat engine is set up for winter use - with anti-freeze in it.
• Do not close any ventilators. Use only boat-based heating. Do not introduce any additional portable heaters - they can lead to poisoning or fires.
• Never go alone. Let people know where you are going and when you leave. Let them know when you return as well.
• Things to take: life-jacket, warm clothes, a change of clothes, strong waterproofs, footwear with good tread, a hot drink, food, a mobile phone, a torch and spare batteries, a VHF radio.
(There's more in the same vein. I'm being sent to get some weather pictures and an interview clip, not a self-contained package.)