If you asked someone outside Great Yarmouth to name one of the town’s attractions, I would imagine that the answers would include the pier, the Golden Mile, and the Pleasure Beach. Most people wouldn’t immediately associate the town with the Norfolk Broads, yet they are a hidden gem on our doorstep. They attract over 10,000 boats to the area every year, many who require assistance or advice from the dedicated team of Navigation Rangers, especially when they reach the wide expanse of Breydon Water.
Although the area is currently the responsibility of the Port Company, the Broads Authority voluntarily contributes to its maintenance and operates a water patrol for seven months of the year during the tourist season. The Chief Executive of the Broads Authority, John Packham, invited me to learn more about their role in promoting and protecting this precious natural resource as we toured the river and Breydon Water on a motor launch. Head Navigation Ranger, Adrian Vernon, explained how the rangers provide help to crews of pleasure craft that get in to difficulty. As we watched recently established avocet fly overhead, he highlighted the importance of the area for both native and migratory wading birds, and the fine balance between conservation efforts and encouraging leisure use.