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BroadScot

Why a better Pilot Pick up is required!

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When one sees photos like this, it surely must make you think, where could a better pick up point be for the bridge Pilot?

 

 

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cheers Iain.

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Hi Iain,

 

I do not have an idea where a pickup point  could be made, but in my humble opinion it needs to be before you get to Barnes Brinkcraft.

 

Alternatively opposite Barns where you used to be able to take on water would have been an ideal location, five or six boats could be waiting for the pilot at that location, it would have kept the bridge free of any boats.

 

Wroxham has always been an issue for mooring, well at least for the private boat crews, hire craft have more chance of finding mooring in the boat yards other than on turn around days.

 

Maybe a new marina just outside of Wroxham that as part of its development has to provide visitor moorings and a pilots station?

 

Regards

Alan

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Hi Iain,

 

I do not have an idea where a pickup point  could be made, but in my humble opinion it needs to be before you get to Barnes Brinkcraft.

 

Alternatively opposite Barns where you used to be able to take on water would have been an ideal location, five or six boats could be waiting for the pilot at that location, it would have kept the bridge free of any boats.

 

Wroxham has always been an issue for mooring, well at least for the private boat crews, hire craft have more chance of finding mooring in the boat yards other than on turn around days.

 

Maybe a new marina just outside of Wroxham that as part of its development has to provide visitor moorings and a pilots station?

 

Regards

Alan

Hi Alan,

 

My solution for what its worth, is to reserve an area in the Faircraft Loynes yard - they after all are charging the £12.00p. I thought about Barnes, but that is a bit of a treck for the Pilot. If no boats the other side of the bridge to bring back through. I appreciate there is know easy solution, but when you see pics like that, you really feel something should be done!

 

 

cheers Iain

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Just a thought, but the three mooring spaces that Barnes were meant to provide as a part of their planning permission at the old Moores yard sounds about the right place. I've noticed that the problem seems a lot worse on Saturdays. As the pilot service is incidental to Faircraft Loynes main business I wonder if turning their hire boats around and servicing them comes first? You couldn't blame them.

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The regular pilot is I believe 70 years old, and does it part time. So he I doubt is working at the change over.

 

 

cheers Iain

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Hi Iain, the last couple of times I have been in Wroxham the pilot is more like in his forties? Either aged very well, or more than one pilot. :smile:

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 In May it was one of the young lads, the older chap who has taken me several times didn't start till 1pm. In total, I have had three different Pilots there, and all the pandemonium that goes with it! :naughty: I wouldn't bother, but I so like the cruise up to Belaugh and Coltishall. :)

 

 

cheers Iain

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Coltishall. Geldeston and anywhere above Potter Bridge have to be the best places on The Broads. cheers

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First time we ever hired, we were told to wait for the pilot ,and when asked precisely where or how , we were told he would come and get us if we just "hovered about "

We gave up , it was chaos, and not the organised version either

That was our first and last wait for the pilot !

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NBD run the pilot service, in the peak of the summer their day boats are mostly out on the river not choking up their mooring, also their basin is free of the larger hire fleet, so why not use their own moorings for boats to wait for their pilot?

 

The current system has boats backed up and being a menace to other business' that gain nothing from the pilot.

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When did it become the norm to need the pilot for wroxham?

Is it rising rivers and boatyards sick of collisions that have driven this?

I would guess about 5 years ago I piloted it myself without any problems.

My mind could be playing tricks with me of course!!

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Hi Neil,

 

Unofficially longer than five years, the very boat you had an ex Porter & Haylett, began to use their own staff to take the boats through, I think that was about ten years ago, I gladly be told otherwise.

 

I thought it was six years since the Official pilot service started. Like you, I also did it myself. I guess too many accidents and insurance claims put an end to solo passage through.

 

 

cheers Iain.

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cheers iain

Without meaning to sound big heided! My memories of piloting it were that it wasn't that difficult. If your gauge was less than showing it was get straight and carry on through.

The boats are getting bigger and the gap less I imagine though!!

Neil

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Hi Neil,

 

A cross wind on the bend side could make it interesting as you straightened to go through, plus, yes the boats are getting bigger and more expensive. 

 

 

cheers Iain

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Not big headed at all Wonderwall, just realistic. Most of the boats in that picture would go through sideways with my five year old at the helm (actually if he were at the helm they probably would be going sidewards, but you get my meaning)

 

Petty the poor bugga who has to take that thing with the steps up to the top through though, that's going to take some work!

 

Like you i remember helming boats through regulalry when we hired boats that would fit, and if we didn't we moored in the sadly long gone Brister yard. it seems a bit daft that people have to stop, pick up, and pay for a pilot to take a Hampton, or a bounty through.

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Is there still a list of boatyards on the board at the pilot station that the pilot will take boats through for? I seem to remember not all hire yards were on it...

 

And, if it gets as busy as Iains piccy shows, surely they can just ask another pilot to walk round and clear the backlog? Its not far is it now and they seem to have a few on the books!

 

To my mind all I see in that picture is poor management by the pilot service provider which is leading to potentially dangerous overcrowding of the river right in front of the bridge - the very area the boaters are paying the pilot service to keep safe!

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When one sees photos like this, it surely must make you think, where could a better pick up point be for the bridge Pilot?

 

 

attachicon.gif111503-large.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

cheers Iain.

It makes me wonder why anyone would wish to go North at this time of the year if they don't have to...

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There are not that many free moorings north of Wroxham bridge, even less now that they have halved the Viaduct moorings.

Coltishall has limited moorings, there are a couple at Beauleigh and Cairn Meadow, and a few wild moorings at the head of navigation.

You could mud weight in Bridge Broad I guess, especially if you like to take train numbers lol.

At what point will they limit the number of boats passing through the bridge?

I remember one summer driving across the Menai bridge to Anglesey, and they had put a sign up... "Anglesey Full" lol

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I remember one summer driving across the Menai bridge to Anglesey, and they had put a sign up... "Anglesey Full" lol

 

I think that was put up by the young trainee fast-jet pilots at RAF Valley!

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I can understand why a pilot service was set up at potter I don't understand why it was done at wroxham. Was it explained at the time?

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The only viable reason why a pilot service was set up at Wroxham is because of the number of boats that were being damaged being taken through.

 

I can well remember taking time out of a boating holiday at the bridge seeing hirers going through, you might get three make it and then one scrap a hand rail, loose an aerial or worse.

 

Bridges generally it seems are causing a headache over the rivers – from boats hitting the bridges at Yarmouth, to St. Olaves – even Wroxham recently someone tried taking San Remo through causing damage and needing to be taken out of the water for repairs to be done.

 

What beggars belief to me is why the Broads Authority are not doing more.  Take a look at many of the bridge height gauges and the state many of them have been allowed to get in just below the average water line is often unreadable.

 

I believe there should be clearly warning signage at each bridge as a last minute common sense alarm that actually this is a low bridge and extra care be taken.  In this vein I attach a copy of a letter I have today written to the Broads Authority with some of my suggestions.

 

Letter to Broads Authorty.pdf

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Good luck with your letter Robin. It will be interesting to see what may or may not happen and if they reply to you.

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Wroxham like potter is a pipe, with the beam of modern cruisers being larger than the old traditional boats there is no room for error, your craft might well have the clearance necessary to get through but only if your aligned perfectly and stay central. Bridges such as Acle being of square construction are easy, if you fit you fit, there is no worry about lining everything up you just go for it.

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For whatever reason there does seem to be an extra amount of incidents this year. With all due respect about signage etc.  I'm not sure it will help. When I first came to The Broads 14 years ago as a hirer I read the manual, listened to the handover understood how the bridge heights worked. The first time we came into Wroxham I was a complete novice and took one look at the bridge and despite there being clearance opted to use the pilot service even though it wasn't compulsory in those days. The people on San Remo should have been told they need to use the pilot and for what ever reason choose not to.

 

The same with Breydon, we listened and read and planned our passage according to low water. I see so many boats crossing Breydon at any tide states. Maybe newer more powerful engines are allowing people to travel at reasonable speed against the tide with the only penalty being their fuel deposit and the bank erosion. A few years back after quite a few groundings on Breydon, John Cressey made up and attached some signs to the marker posts on Breydon. Since then the BA have taken over responsibility for Breydon and improved the signage even further, and yet still more boats are going aground.

 

It been suggested that bridge strikes have always occurred and we are only hearing about them more because of social media etc. However the two main forums have been around quite a few years now. I'm convinced that this year has seen a dramatic rise in incidents. The BA figures at the safety meeting will probably confirm this.

 

I guess the real answer is in the hands of The BA. For any bridge strike or grounding incident (hire or private) a member of the BA should attend and interview the helm under caution to find out if drink, drugs, poor handover, lack of written information, mechanical failure etc. is the cause. The BA can then correlate the real causes of these incidents (we can only speculate on here) and take appropriate action.

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I'm particularly interested in Robin's point in his letter to the BA about people's inability to read a bridge height gauge correctly.  Ten years of pilotage at Potter provided me with such evidence.  Hirers and privateers alike would stand patiently by the height gauge in the office while I tried to point out that they were reading the gauge incorrectly. Indeed we have had posters on here (and elsewhere) claim such and such a height at Potter when I know that they have patently mis-read the gauge.  One of the complications of any electronic measurement to the water's surface would be the constant wave action. Have a look at the EA's own gauge readings at Repps Staithe to see how useless their system is.  

 

Setting up a pilotage service is far from cheap and fraught with uncertainties about demand, staffing levels, etc. It wouldn't happen unless the boatyards saw a very real economic reason for it. I was often paid to sit in the office all day, 8.30 am to 6.00 pm at Potter turning boats away because the levels were too high.  Equally, I have been rushed off my feet, running from boat to boat, to keep up with the demands of boat arrivals and the window of opportunity provided by the tides.  Piloting a hundred plus boats a day and cramming that into a finite window of opportunity is very demanding.

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