The Broads and canals – they are not the same …

The Broads and canals – they are not the same …

Mark Tizard is getting used to his new boating environment.

Hire craft on the Broads seem to have got larger and ever more sophisticated, with two decks. I wonder if the hire market has peaked, with prices ranging from £1300 to £3300 a week, with most at the upper end in the main holiday period. I have noticed an increasing last-minute availability of boats; a quick check shows many are still available to book. Hirers report now having to pay a fuel surcharge rather than getting money back from the deposit as in previous years.

Having moved from the canals to the Southern Broads, leaving slack lines to allow for the tide when you are mooring on the river is still a novelty. It’s nearly three weeks since we had a call saying our boat had passed the BSS inspection but so far no certificate or invoice – Norfolk time I’m told!

I’m enjoying good water depth under the boat when mooring, but like the canals you still need to moor up early on popular spots. Late morning or early afternoon, when the hire-boats have moved on, is favourite. Private moorings charge, but EA moorings are free and are 24-hours and to be honest so far they have not been a problem. Some people moan on Facebook about overstaying boats but I’ve not noticed it yet. There would appear to be very few continuous cruisers compared with the canals. Apparently things are much busier on the Northern broads but we are staying south this year.

I’m amazed at the substantial number of expensive sea-going motor yachts moored up in the marinas in Brundall, where we are, but there are relatively few boat movements – perhaps it’s the price of fuel! Fortunately, the River Yare is wide and there is plenty of room to accommodate the many users, from paddle-boarders and canoes to sailing yachts and motor cruisers. More buoys and signs have been put up in Breydon water (the link between the Northern and Southern Broads) due to an increasing number of craft going off course and aground – subsequently having to be rescued by the inshore lifeboat as the tide ebbs.