The Highway Code of the river
The Norfolk Broads has a set of rules much like the Highway Code. We ask all of our boating holiday guests to respect these rules for their own and other’s safety and enjoyment.
Wear life jackets at all times
Always wear your life jacket when getting on and off your boat and when it’s underway. We provide life jackets for all Broom Boating Holiday customers.
Follow the speed limit
You can be fined for exceeding the speed limit on the river. Keep a proper look-out and drive at a speed that means you can take effective action to avoid a collision or come to a stop.
Look out for speed limit signs and slow down when passing moored boats. Speed limits on the Norfolk Broads ranges from 3mph to 6mph. Following the speed limit not only helps prevent accidents, it also preserves the riverbanks. Going too fast causes excessive wash (waves), which contributes to bank erosion, can swamp nesting birds, and upset other river users.
Drive on the right
Boats under power must drive to the right of the channel. So, if you see another Broom cruiser give them a friendly wave as you pass them to your port (left). When overtaking another boat, pass with them to your starboard (right) in the middle of the river. Give them plenty of space, look out for other river users, and don’t get too close to the bank.
Give way to sailing boats
The Norfolk Broads has a thriving sailing community. Horning, South Walsham, Thurne, Wroxham Broad and Oulton Broad are particular hotspots for sailing vessels. Don’t expect sailing boats to get out of your way, they can only go where the wind takes them.
Sailing boats may tack in front or behind you. This is where they take a zig zag path across the river. Stay your course, pass behind them and follow any instructions given by the sailors.
No night-time boat excursions
Make sure you plan your day, so you’re safely moored up before nightfall. Hire boats don’t have the required navigational lights or insurance to cruise at night.
Children and driving
Children under 8 must not drive your boat. Children over 8, but under 14, must be supervised by an adult at all times.
Don’t tow another boat
It may seem the nice thing to do but hire boats must not tow other boats. You must also give way to other boats engaged in towing.
Don’t fish when under power
You may fish on the Norfolk Broads between June and March. You do however need a license, which can be purchased from most Post Offices. You can fish from your boat when moored but not when it’s under power.
Respect other river users
Most people visit the river for its tranquil surroundings and wildlife. Under the Bylaws it’s an offence to cause a nuisance to others by excessive noise. If you wish to play music please show respect for others and keep the volume low, particularly at night.
Signalling to other boats
Unlike driving, using your boat’s horn isn’t to tell other users that you’re annoyed. You can use your horn to tell other boats what your next move is. Only use it to make these signals.
- One short blast: I’m going to turn right
- Two short blasts: I’m going to turn left
- Three short blasts: I’m going astern
- One long bast (4 secs): this is a warning signal
Give way to working boats
You may meet a boat that’s working on the river, such as a dredger. You must give way to these boats.
Check the height of your boat and the position of the tide. Plan to arrive at a bridge when there is sufficient clearance beneath it to allow your boat to pass through. At bridges, power driven boats travelling against the current or tide should give way to boats travelling with the tide or current.
For a guide to negotiating bridges and other useful information. including full bylaws, visit the Broads Authority website. When holidaying with Broom boats you’ll be given full expert instruction and a handbook.