Topic: Swimming in the broads

jimmy101    -- May-22-2017 @ 6:33 AM
  Our girl (13) is a triathlete and is looking to carry on her training next week and wants to know can she swim in the broads.  Obviously later in the evening and no chance of traffic, she has wet suit and is very competent and used to open water swimming.  Just want to know if safe

Steve51    -- May-22-2017 @ 7:12 AM
  Jimmy, I would neither condone or condemn swimming in the Broads, but I would just make a few points.

The majority of yachts don't have holding tanks, so a lot of poo still goes in the water. That said it must get well diluted as the water quality is good.

In places, weed can be a problem, growing quite close to the surface (even if you can't see it) and could potentially entangle a swimmer.

I often cruise later in the evening or after dark (legally on nav lights) and I've noticed an increasing number of hire boats racing about trying to find a mooring. The last thing any skipper expects to see is a person swimming. In fact it would be virtually impossible to spot a person in the water.

Having said all of that, there are probably hundreds of people who go for a dip every year without incident.  Smile

Steve. CM1 and NR12

This message was edited by Steve51 on May-22-17 @ 8:14 AM

boat-mad    -- May-22-2017 @ 7:43 AM
  Hi Jimmy,
Here is a link to Broads Authority info regarding open water swimming on The Broads.

Kind Regards

This message was edited by boat-mad on May-22-17 @ 8:44 AM

FishersHaven    -- May-22-2017 @ 7:47 AM
  I swam in the broads as a child, the water was worse then. We were always watched by someone on shore, instructions to keep our mouths closed and hosed down when we got out. Did the same with our children swimming in the Soar downstream of Leicester with the refinement of a warm shower afterwards. I would echo the above warning about boats and reed, adding that you must have no open cuts, your daughter will know that if she regularly swims outdoors. Horstead Mill used to be a favourite for splashing around.
Please don't take this as encouragement to swim, just an answer to your question.
I seem to remeber seeing a leaflet from someone leading 'wild swims', maybe The Canoe Man?

We love the Broads

This message was edited by FishersHaven on May-22-17 @ 8:52 AM

Hylander    -- May-22-2017 @ 8:15 AM
  It is not only yachts that are getting a bucket and chucking it in the river, lots of people with porta potti's do it to.     Would I swim in the water not in a million.  

Women dont nag they just
things out...


TerryTibbs    -- May-22-2017 @ 9:31 AM
  Early mornings there are often people swimming in the Waveney near to Beccles there are 2 guys that regularly swim from about 2 miles upstream of Beccles into the town centre, as people have said there is a certain amount of effluent goes into the water but as the Waveney has a decent flow this is well diluted, another potential hazard is underwater weed and of course boats.


Je suis Charlie

TerryTibbs    -- May-22-2017 @ 9:37 AM
  If you want to be 100% safe there is an outdoor Lido at Beccles and this time of year it will be virtually empty.


Je suis Charlie

millerman    -- May-22-2017 @ 9:55 AM
  I understand that another possible downside to swimming in the broads  is weils disease. This is caused by rat urine, and in a worst case scenario can be fatal.
Initial symptoms are flu like, if this happens then seek medical advice at once, and give them details about the swim.

Paladine    -- May-22-2017 @ 10:14 AM
There is a group of swimmer (sorry I don't know the name of the group) who regularly swim above Coltishall Lock and from the lock to Coltishall Green.

You might also consider somewhere like Barton Broad (keeping to the edges, rather than using the channel), with a kayak or canoe escort.

"..for the avoidance of any doubt, the broads are not legally a national park and do not come under the national park legislation, and nor will they."
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for DEFRA (Hansard 2015)

TerryTibbs    -- May-22-2017 @ 10:51 AM
  The OP has already stated that his Daughter is an experienced open water swimmer so i'm sure she is well aware of the potential health risks but for other here are the other potential hazards and how to reduce your chances of catching anything nasty.

Saying that the greatest risk of catching Weils disease on the Broads is from your mooring ropes,I wonder how many of us think to wash their hands after casting off?


Je suis Charlie

Regulo    -- May-22-2017 @ 12:07 PM
  Not likely this time of year, I know, but if anyone's thinking of taking a dip in later months of summer, blue-green algae can give you a nasty dose of unpleasantness. And can prove fatal in dogs and cats.

Regards, Ray.

Whatever happens now, I'm blaming it on Brexit. Everyone else is!

Monkeyhands    -- May-22-2017 @ 1:11 PM
  Hi, During my last trip to the broads we moored at the Ferry Inn, Horning for a night. In the early evening a family with 2 kids that were no older than 10 turned up in the small car park area that is on the opposite side of the river to the pub. They had a couple of canoes with them that the adults were using but the kids were just left to swim in the river, both the kids had life jackets on and were happy as larry swimming up and down the river. They must have been at it for an hour or more, anyway I was persuaded to take the kids out in our rowing boat at the same time and ended up across the river and got into conversation with the kids dad, he told me they lived locally and had been doing this sort of thing for years. He had no qualms about letting the kids in the river and said that none of them had ever picked up anything nasty from the water. Would think your daughter will be fine with some common sense re traffic on the river etc.


Islander    -- May-22-2017 @ 4:54 PM
  I do wonder how we ever managed to achieve anything in this world when you listen to the prophets of doom.
Whitlingham board run regular open water swimming on their site. I don't think anyone has died from swallowing a bit of water from there. Get in there and enjoy. Remember, there are many sewage out falls near our wonderful beaches along the coast. Only those with. A weak constitution are likely to suffer. My mother told me I had to eat at least a pound of dirt before I died. No idea what I've eaton but I'm still here at 60+.

Colin Cheers

rickh    -- May-22-2017 @ 5:33 PM
  Er yes they have , both broads have had drowning victims at whitlingham , as has Thorpe marsh's and not one victim was older than 25 and all within the last 10 yrs .
Yes there is regulated swimming in the great broad but safety boats are in presence too , all the signs were updated after the 2 children lost there life's at Thorpe marsh's .


TerryTibbs    -- May-23-2017 @ 2:21 AM
  Rick, read the thread, no one is talking about drownings, I'm sure Colin was pointing out that no one had died from any disease picked up from getting a mouthful of water whilst swimming in the Broad, which aint a Broad anyway, as it's a gravel pit and has no flow of water through it, any potential risk is higher there than in a river or broad attached to a river.


Je suis Charlie

Harlequin    -- May-23-2017 @ 3:10 AM
  A a Broadlander born and bred I would not dream of swimming in the Broads. For all sorts of reasons.

The most pressing being...
I was sailing on one broad about three yeas back and almost rammed a swimmer. I had no idea that he was there until he was just feet away. I just managed to miss him on the Starboard side.
Apparently it was all my fault for sailing "like a effing idiot". The fact that he was virtually invisible in the busy choppy water, not even wearing a coloured cap, seemed to pass him by.
I have no problem if swimmers wish to risk drowning or poisoning themselves in the waters, that is their choice. But please do not swim anywhere stupid and have your death on a boaters conscience.

uitmis    -- May-23-2017 @ 3:11 AM
  Well said, TerryTibbs.  Events today have shown that safety is never guaranteed.  Those whose primary concern is their own safety will never know the true joy of living.

Marshman    -- May-23-2017 @ 8:00 AM
  Reading this you would think the Broads are dangerous!! And the broads consisted of muddy, disease ridden and dangerous areas!! NOT!!

The water is cleaner than its been for decades and there is no more chance of catching anything than swimming in any open water - and as was pointed out Weils Disease can be caught from ropes , vegetation and anything close to the water as well.

Its not for me to support or otherwise swimming, as thats down to the individual, but I suspect in reality its probably just as safe as driving your car along the road!!

rickh    -- May-23-2017 @ 9:06 AM
  TT if yiu read Colin's post it makes specific reference to whitlingham by using the words from there , yes I know they are grave pits but why do you think that the fire service dive teams practice there ? Because its very like the rivers and broads and are just as dangerous , my post was answering Colin's obviously not rather than referring to swimming on the rivers and broads and is a like place to go to try and keep away from boats etc and people think they are perfectly safe including you and they clearly are not .
Weil's is far more likely to be contracted BTW via an open cut rather than via swallowing water , and it does take life's , its not that long ago that a BW diver working on a lock died from Weil's .
I fully agree with marshman in that the biggest danger is from boats that don't see the swimmer and not many get introduced to a turning prop and get away with it.


batrabill    -- May-23-2017 @ 11:07 AM
  I swim. My kids swim. My wife swims. We choose our spot carefully.

I also sail so I get my hands wet again and again and nearly always have some open cut somewhere. I am on the river in some form at least 4 times a week.
I have a dyke next to my garden and have fallen in it a couple of times.
I canoe occasionally and water splashes in my face and mouth.
I watch small children sail Toppers and capsize repeatedly.

All these things have a risk.

Weills - if its too great a risk then we should stop canoeing, wild swimming, paddle boarding, wet boats, and windsurfing right now. Not just on the Broads but all inland waters.

I also cross the road. And drive. And get drunk. These are also dangerous.

I would never advise another parent to let their child swim - its for them to make a decision.

But life is for living. I'll sit with a flask of tea by the side of the road when I'm gaga.


Dzign    -- May-23-2017 @ 11:31 AM
  Spot on Bill think that covers everything..
Well said


Dilligaf    -- May-23-2017 @ 12:36 PM
  Well said Bill!
Hows your tea?

Formerly 'LeoMagill'

rickh    -- May-23-2017 @ 12:40 PM
  I'm sorry but has anyone said ban this n ban that ? .
Your quite right Bill life is for living but what I can't understand is someone who clearly knows the risks not taking any measures to prevent potential harm coming to themselves , then again its your life to do with as you wish but there's a very fine line between being brave and being foolhardy , but at the end of the day its not going to affect me so why should I be bothered but  personally I prefer to not take risks with my life especially knowing that the consequences might be not having one .


daz3210    -- May-23-2017 @ 3:16 PM
  I have personally swum in the Broads, I am a reasonably experienced open water swimmer.

My personal opinion is that if an individual chooses to do so, it should be done only after very careful consideration.

The Broads I would be willing to go in are limited, specifically Salhouse and Oulton.

Salhouse isn't too bad if you get a reasonable summers day, since there will be many kids in the shallows, which I would hope would give an indication to most helms that there could be swimmers. BUT, any swimming away from the shallows I would always feel safer with a dinghy accompanying me. That would for one mean that the dinghy of not myself would be visible to other boats, and IF the cold were to get the better of me help would be at hand.

Away from these two specific broads the currents need very careful assessment.

The choice however always has to rest with the individual, following an assessment of risk based on that individuals levels of confidence and ability.

Wocka Wocka Wocka

Islander    -- May-23-2017 @ 3:22 PM
  Well Jimmy, I hope you have not been put off by the comments but the decision is entirely yours. This is not advice but what I would do. Avoid busy areas, swim early AM and not PM ( more boats on river PM looking for moorings) and follow swimmer in suitable small craft suitably conspicuous. Having said that we have watched a few people here at Thorpe take a morning dip from their boats in what was crystal clear water.

Colin Cheers

jimmy101    -- May-25-2017 @ 8:01 AM
  Hi All, thanks very much for your comments and taking the time, never thought it would lead to such debate.  We have a kayak and a dingy so will probably will swim but with all the precautions

Paladine    -- May-25-2017 @ 8:10 AM
jimmy101, you're forgetting this is the Norfolk Broads Forum, the No.1 forum for debating anything Broads-related   Cheers

Now if you had asked about swimming in the Mersey, I don't suppose you'd have got many replies  tounge-in-cheek

"..for the avoidance of any doubt, the broads are not legally a national park and do not come under the national park legislation, and nor will they."
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for DEFRA (Hansard 2015)

kfurbank    -- May-25-2017 @ 9:34 AM
  Has anyone tried swimming in the Mersey? Have some friends heading that way later in the year.

Just because The BA make a request, don't automatically assume they have the powers to make such requests!! Keeping a careful eye on an Authority which is making it's own rules.

rickh    -- May-25-2017 @ 9:54 AM
  As far as I know there's a club that regularly swim in the Mersey obviously not on the main river most probably one of the docks .


555tcv    -- May-25-2017 @ 10:51 AM
  There is also a Open water swimming session 3 times a week at Salford Quays.

Paladine    -- May-25-2017 @ 12:33 PM
What did I tell you, jimmy101. I make a very tongue-in-cheek remark about swimming elsewhere not attracting replies and a whole new discussion opens up  Confused

"..for the avoidance of any doubt, the broads are not legally a national park and do not come under the national park legislation, and nor will they."
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for DEFRA (Hansard 2015)

This message was edited by Paladine on May-25-17 @ 1:59 PM

kfurbank    -- May-25-2017 @ 12:35 PM
  Sorry, couldn't resist the challenge.  Playful Wink

Just because The BA make a request, don't automatically assume they have the powers to make such requests!! Keeping a careful eye on an Authority which is making it's own rules.

Paladine    -- May-25-2017 @ 1:01 PM
Yes, I'd already marked your card!  Evil Grin

"..for the avoidance of any doubt, the broads are not legally a national park and do not come under the national park legislation, and nor will they."
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for DEFRA (Hansard 2015)

rickh    -- May-25-2017 @ 1:47 PM
  And there was me thinking that the forum is supposed to be helpful , clearly some will go to the trouble of answering a question .


Paladine    -- May-25-2017 @ 3:21 PM

"..for the avoidance of any doubt, the broads are not legally a national park and do not come under the national park legislation, and nor will they."
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for DEFRA (Hansard 2015)

daz3210    -- May-26-2017 @ 7:05 PM
  I've scuba dived in the docks at Liverpool.

Does that class as swimming in the Mersey?

Wocka Wocka Wocka

Dibbler    -- May-26-2017 @ 8:21 PM
  Went over the Mersey via 'The Bridge' yesterday....

...I have to say, swimming in there wouldn't be high on my list.  Playful  Smile

Mind you...the tide was out  LOL


turnoar    -- May-26-2017 @ 8:41 PM
  Tri the dipping place at hickling, lots of weed on the main broad so crystal clear, pleasure island and back was the target in my youth, no holes or currents, half inch of tide, safe as hotels!

steve    -- May-31-2017 @ 3:28 PM
  From the edp

steve and vicky

Coriolis    -- May-31-2017 @ 10:08 PM
  All good, sound, worthy stuff...

But eventually we won't be able to do anything without a can't let a youngster climb a tree or go for a paddle these days without someone pointing out the critical danger they're did we ever survive?

Problem become that those who have now grown up surrounded by cotton wool have never developed the ability to think for themselves and make sensible judgements about anything, because as soon as someone is hurt, the cry  goes up that "they" should have foreseen it and put up a warning sign.

I liked it better when I could have some freedom.

Better drowned than duffers; if not duffers won't drown....ring a bell with anyone?


This message was edited by Coriolis on May-31-17 @ 11:09 PM

rickh    -- Jun-1-2017 @ 1:32 AM
  " how did we survive " the fact is some didn't , if a,warning sign saves one persons life then to me at least it was worth putting up , legislation or as I would prefer to call it education is worth while having , its all to easy to say that health and safety has gone mad and in some cases it has but if people are too lazy to way up the risks or just stupidity believe it won't happen to me then it has a part to play , I hardly think the authorities want to explain to parents and relatives that someone they care about has lost their life  be it drowning or otherwise , if people believe that back in the day there were no rules or health and safety then they have very short memories and most of the increase in health and safety is purely because of the claim culture there is nowadays .
Swimming in the broads yea why not after all its endorsed by BA , the police the ambulance service , the coastguard ,the RNLI etc isn't it ???    


chrismbooth    -- Jun-1-2017 @ 3:22 PM
  Last week, moored at the end of Upton staithe, we enjoyed watching the antics of the North Walsham Scouts having a Kayak and Canoe evening.  They certainly enjoyed themselves and got very wet! At least 4 went in, but the 4 adult helpers including their instructor got them out and back into their vessels to continue.  It is a pity that more young people don't get the chance to try these things.


steve    -- Jun-1-2017 @ 4:13 PM
  Although not on the broads , our son is an explorer scout with dartford Cambria sea scouts group , between mid April till early September he's sea scout group are afloat on the river Thames at greenhiithe every Friday night , if tide is right low and out they use a lake on bluewater , sometimes they also do a Saturday on the lake , but like the poster above , it s great to see them afloat , having fun ,

steve and vicky

The Norfolk Broads Forum :