Topic: Passing through Yarmouth and the Southern Broads

kitman    -- Nov-29-2016 @ 5:05 PM
  Good afternoon all,  Having hired twice now on the Northern Broads and been the benificiary of a lot of extremely helpful advice, I am once again dipping my toe in the water to  ask for advice and suggestion.

I have hired Fair Emperor from the 1st of April for a week and wish to also see some of the Southern Broads this time. Having not been through Yarmouth before and a little hesitant, I've consulted the tide tables and if I've read them properly, it would suggest the most appropriate travelling times are :

2 April : 09:34
3 April : 10:25
4 April : 11:28
5 April : 12:48
6 April : 14:09

My first query and I apologise if is a silly one, is where do I have to be at these times ? Is it the main bridge in Yarmouth or the approach from North or South. Secondly, if there are only these certain times for crossing, is there normally quite a build up of boat traffic trying to access at the same time and is the river wide enough at all points to allow two boats to comfortably pass each other.

Thirdly and a more general one, Could the more experienced suggest some Southern Broad Highlights ? Either to see/visit/cruise by in the daytime and favoured moorings for overnight. More than happy to try a wild mooring.

I appreciate this may be a repeated request for Yarmouth and South Broads but I have always found that despite as much research you can do beforehand, there is nothing like a personal recommendation and guidance.

This message was edited by kitman on Nov-29-16 @ 5:07 PM

Bluebell    -- Nov-29-2016 @ 6:08 PM
  Hi, the times you have posted are the slack water times and these are the ideal, but not the only times to pass through Gt Yarmouth. The science is not that exact, but more approximate. You would want to be passing any where from the yacht station to the yellow marker post at your chosen time. It can be a bit busier at slack water, but nothing to worry about.

As for where to go, personally I like Beccles, Oulton Broad and Norwich, but so many places to choose from.

Good luck

ruby    -- Nov-29-2016 @ 7:17 PM

The bits of the south that I like best are a cruise along the Chet with overnight mooring at Lodden riverbank  which are free public moorings just befor the basin ( which can get crowded and is also right next to a car park ).  I would also recommend the breakfasts in Sarah lees cafe which is just over the road from the basin .

My other favourite is surlingham sometimes called Bathgate broad near brundall. I think it is the prettiest spot to be in , very secluded and probably the smallest navigable broad on the broads

Have fun


Stingers    -- Nov-29-2016 @ 8:19 PM
  For "Sarah lees cafe" read "Rosy Lee's Tea Room". I was there on Saturday and the cakes were delicious, as usual. Its only a small place (although there is also a tea garden during the warmer months). The proprieter is a lovely lady called Caroline.


kitman    -- Nov-29-2016 @ 8:26 PM
  Thank you so much for your responses. It really is invaluable for visitors to the broads and "newer" captains to be able to tap into the experiences of others who can suggest/guide/inform others. I've used the forum for the last few years and it illustrates to me how friendly the forum users are and show a "ask away, we've all been there !" Mentality,  so no one is belittled at what might seem the most basic of questions.

So thank you again, and more suggestions welcome.


ruby    -- Nov-29-2016 @ 8:55 PM
  Woops sorry. At least I didn't call it Mr Kiplings


Potter    -- Nov-30-2016 @ 11:27 AM
  Just choose any slack water time, read your manual that you will get with the boat as all the information you need is there.

When passing through GY do not under any circumstances turn around opposite the moorings otherwise you will be in deep do do and the boat will be carried broadside down the river and may damage other craft.

If you want to moor and you have a following current go out in the wide bit of water down below the mouth of the Bure, turn there and come into the mooring against the current.

Have fun.

Coriolis    -- Nov-30-2016 @ 12:17 PM
  Wouldn't argue with Potter, except to say that if you follow the timings suggested you won't encounter  a fast current in either direction.....that's the whole point of going through at slack water.

Don't fret too much about the tide - the whole point is that the tides themselves are somewhat variable, and provided you follow the guidance in the tables, half an hour or so either way won't be a problem.

While sensible awareness is to be encouraged, there is far too much scaremongering, and PROVIDED you've done your homework you'll be fine    Smile

Marshman    -- Nov-30-2016 @ 4:44 PM
  Dont forget too that you have to get to Yarmouth, unless you are actually moored there and the nearest safe mooring going south is Stracey Arms, some 2hrs away or 1 1/2 hours at the very best. So leave yourself that time before the slack water but to be honest, it does not matter so much going south.

Although you say its neaps, it is not neaps until the end of the week, so at the beginning of the week you are actually nearer to Springs than neaps! Also watch the daylight hours - you should be ok but you have probably already spotted by then that it will be BST by then and that sun rise and sun set on the tables is GMT

Coming back you do not want to be at the mouth of the Bure until slack water at the earliest as water runs out of the Bure often for a longer period. However by then it will be neaps and you will easily push what is left of the ebb coming down. Also the jumpinging off spots are nearer with both Berney Arms and Burgh Castle only about an hour away. To be honest if on the Yare I love the Cantley moorings - the current is less up there but it is still only about 2 1/2 hours to Yarmouth - leave Reedham alone and enjoy Cantley and the pub!!

Oulton Dyke and the Broad are nice and so is Somerleyton - Oulton probably 3hrs and a bit and the latter 2 1/2 hours. As I say have a leisurely late breakfast and aim to be at Yarmouth at the back end of slack - don't worry about the tide having turned on Breydon and coming in a bit it won't be much, but the key is not to be too early. Fair Emperor has a pretty high airdraft so you will need to be somewhere near the low tide time to get under safely.

Above all remember it is not an exact science especially as tides do not read the printed tables!!   Smile

rickh    -- Nov-30-2016 @ 6:29 PM
  What " leave reedham alone " I'm sure the village's publican's and shop owners will be delighted with that mashman , reedham would be manned on those dates where as burgh castle and the berney  arms are not manned and the tide flows just as fast there as reedham , at least u can do some provisions buying at reedham if req , also there is a lay by pontoon between Yarmouth and the Stacy arms these days for emergency mooring only but t running out of daylight hrs and not having nav lights is in a hire craft pretty much that sort of situation .
Other than that I agree .


Marshman    -- Dec-1-2016 @ 2:46 PM
  Rick- irrespective of those who live in Reedham, I stand by my original comments!

The boat is a relatively big one and with perhaps an unfamiliar helmsperson, the tide runs half as fast again than at Cantley, the river is certainly narrower by quite a lot, the quay is often congested and on top of that the BA consider it necessary to have Quay Rangers available to help you moor! I have been driving boats around for years, both small and large, and I think mooring at Reedham falls into the relatively difficult category - so why not go upstream , and find a more pleasant mooring with less tide and loads more room both to moor and much more importantly, plenty of river!

Well, to me its a no brainer!!  (With apologies to those who live in Reedham who may think otherwise! )

Hylander    -- Dec-1-2016 @ 3:22 PM
  If I can add my two penneth,    pay attention to the height of your boat.     I should imagine it will be quite high and that means definitely going through Yarmouth at slack or as near to.

You have the bridges down South to get under.   May be those with high vessels can advise about the opening of say Somerleyton Bridge.

Women dont nag they just
things out...


annville    -- Dec-1-2016 @ 5:27 PM
  Hi Kitman Anywhere is good just be aware that Reedham can be difficult at certain tides and times. An hour ether side of high and low tides is easer St Olaves also if mooring at pub which is stern on,one hour either side of high tide is better when traveling up or down the Chet to Loddon.Just don't rush enjoy your holiday.John

annville    -- Dec-1-2016 @ 5:37 PM
  Hylander If you radio Somerleyton bridge just after you pass Oltain Broad cut and when you pass through B A yard at St Olave's they will tell you the time that the bridge will be open you can then adjust your speed to arrive at the best time,i like to be 1/4 hour after this time it gives the people that have been waiting in mid river to have sorted themselves out leaving a clear run through John

kitman    -- Dec-1-2016 @ 6:31 PM
  Thank you guys for your advice and help,  it's invaluable to have this kind of resource to tap into and learn from and much appreciated. I hope having had 4 years on the northern broads I haven't over panicked myself with tide tables and conditions !

Any more suggestions on Moorings is greatly  appreciated.

Thanks again !


uitmis    -- Dec-1-2016 @ 9:41 PM
  pay attention to the height of your boat.     I should imagine it will be quite high and that means definitely going through Yarmouth at slack or as near to.

If HEIGHT is an issue it is better to navigate through the bridges at low water, when the clearance is greatest, NOT slack which is when the current is least.

kitman    -- Mar-28-2017 @ 11:59 AM
  Looking ahead to next week now...

Regarding going through Yarmouth, the plan is to leave Acle Tuesday morning approximately 08.00 down to Gt Yarmouth (Low Water 10.28/Slack 11.28) then carry on over to Brundall and moor there overnight.

Wednesday - Explore some of the southern rivers, Reedham, Loddon, before over Oulton Broad and over night there.

Can anyone give preferences for mooring at the yacht Station or the Wherry Hotel ?

Thursday - Leave Oulton at 10 am for Gt Yarmouth (Low13.09/Slack14.09), then back up to Acle and beyond.

How does this look for the more experienced ? And any suggestions en-route ?

Re Bridges, it looks like we will go under Reedham and Somerleyton but should be able to pass under both with enough room.

This message was edited by kitman on Mar-28-17 @ 12:28 PM

DorsetHelmsman    -- Mar-28-2017 @ 3:15 PM
  Reedham has 3 pubs the Reedham Ferry has its own moorings with usually plenty of space the main village moorings do get busy but the BA Ranger helps out  there is an odd comment on one website saying no "free" moorings but most are indeed free I suspect the comment meant they were all taken but double mooring is allowed (in the 1970s triple)
The Lord Nelson (just refurbished) and The Ship are both open.

jess    -- Mar-28-2017 @ 3:47 PM
  I would like to cross from south to north on Saturday 22 July.  The tide times are low water 15.59pm and slack water 16.59.  I am just wondering if this is doable because it is late in the day and we would need to find somewhere to moor up for the night.  The boat is Pacific Diamond.

Paladine    -- Mar-28-2017 @ 4:23 PM
Being on a hire boat, you are not allowed to navigate after sunset, which is at 20.00, so you've got a possible 3 hours cruising. Speed limit is 6mph, so these are the mileages from Gt Yarmouth of the  moorings doable in that 3hr time frame:

Potter Heigham             17.5
St.Benet's/Fleet Dyke   16
Womack Dyke               15.5      
Thurne Mouth               14.5
(Thurne Mouth moorings are currently closed, but the Thurne Dyke moorings should be available)     
Acle Bridge                  11.5      
Stokesby Ferry               9      
Stracey Arms                  8

"..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 Mar-28-17 @ 4:26 PM

steve    -- Mar-28-2017 @ 6:06 PM
  Hi there ,
If times are tight , I'd personally head for Stracey arms or stokesby for the night , if moorings are full and just further along from stokesby make your way to acle , where you can moor at the two hireboat yards at acle for the night free and top up with water for the next day.  

steve and vicky

jess    -- Mar-28-2017 @ 6:39 PM
  Thanks.  I was just having thoughts about not being able to find a mooring spot as it's high season.  I suppose if all is full I could always request to double moor.  I know I would always agree to it if it was the only way for someone to get moored for the night. Remember double mooring in the 80's with no problem.

BuffaloBill    -- Mar-29-2017 @ 8:18 AM
  Jess. I have never seen the Stracey Windpump moorings
full in all the years Iv'e been coming, even in the
heyday of the 60's and 70's, so you would be OK in my
opinion. I believe there is a £6 fee payable at the
shop though.

The older I get...
The better I was....!!

jess    -- Mar-29-2017 @ 11:45 AM
  Thanks I now feel reassured that we will not be stuck without a mooring.  I had intended staying on the south side for the week but have been out voted.

kitman    -- Mar-29-2017 @ 12:26 PM
  With regard to bridge heights, I note that Somerleyton is 8'6" and Reedham 10'. I'm informed that fair emperor has an airdraft of 7'10 so all would seem well. Is there anything to be wary of when going through these ?

Paladine    -- Mar-29-2017 @ 12:51 PM
Just make sure that ALL your crew are aware you are approaching any bridges and are not in a position that increases your air draft to a dangerous (to them) level.

Last year, I saw a boat about to pass under Ludham Bridge, with plenty of boat clearance, but two of the crew sitting on the cabin roof, blissfully unaware that they were about to make contact with something very hard! Tragedy was averted at the very last minute.

"..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)

Marshman    -- Mar-29-2017 @ 4:39 PM
  I think you have fallen into a little trap, especially if using Shorebase tide tables. The times shown are GMT so sunset is 21.00 and not 20.00. Someone check please!!!

Jess I think you have another hour to play with so it would not be a problem at all - with 4 hours loads of time and if you use your mudweight in S Walsham or Ranworth you will find plenty of room!!!!

annville    -- Mar-29-2017 @ 5:18 PM
  Hi Kitman The wherry is stern on to quay heading rise and fall two foot plus, no electric or water, Yacht station has pontoon moorings stern on and quay moorings stern on,with water and electric, both charge but you may get a refund off your meal at Wherry, haven't been this year yet so not sure, Brundel/Coldham hall stern and side on moorings with electric refund of mooring charge off your meal meal.Brooms on other side free,longish walk to the Yare or longer up to village,There is Surlingham ferry and bramerton further on both excellent for food and beer,or Norwich further on still.John

Hylander    -- Mar-29-2017 @ 5:39 PM
  I thought the Wherry had a water point.

Women dont nag they just
things out...


boat-mad    -- Mar-30-2017 @ 7:58 AM
  I often moor up at The Wherry Hotel enjoying the food, several drinks and a great view of Oulton Broad.  Due to the rise and fall you do need to ensure there is sufficient slack on the ropes. As the boat would be so close to The Hotel it's easy to keep a check.

I find the moorings fine but do find that that in strong winds the boat may bang against the quay. Deep ridges on the steel quay allow vertically hanging fenders to sit in the gaps making them far less affective. Relocating one or two of the side fenders  to the stern can help.

New mooring posts would be good but having said that the mooring fees have not increased for years.  £10 for overnight mooring includes a £5 discount meal voucher.

As Hylander says there is a water point. Cheers

Kind Regards

This message was edited by boat-mad on Mar-31-17 @ 6:17 AM

kitman    -- Mar-30-2017 @ 12:31 PM
  Thank you everyone for your advice, it's invaluable to get this kind of info. Looking forward tremendously to visiting almost "regular" places now on the Northern and seeing some new ones on the Southern broads next week.

The old adage of "slowly does it" is always in my mind for mooring up, and as always grateful for anyone offering to catch a rope !  

jess    -- Mar-30-2017 @ 4:06 PM
  I would love to mudweight but we will have a dog with us.  The extra hour sounds useful.  Thank you Marshman.

jess    -- Mar-30-2017 @ 4:15 PM
  I remember my first time on the Broads as a newly wed in 1982.  Just the two of us and we didn't have a clue about tides and bridges.  We crossed Breydon at will in a very small boat, not all all concerned by the swirling water.  Oh to be young and fearless again.  Which brings me to another question.  Would it be ok to go though Yarmouth an hour before Low Water?  Or an hour after slack water if we choose the very early am time? Boat has a 6" 6" air draft.

Paladine    -- Mar-30-2017 @ 5:33 PM
Your air draft will not cause you problems at any state of tide, but what you have to bear in mind is that tide. The Bure continues to flow out for about 45 - 60 minutes after slack water, so if you get to GY an hour before slack, you'll be punching a strong tide (and wasting fuel) for the next couple of hours, as you head up the Bure.

Leaving it until an hour after slack water means that you'll be against the tide across Breydon Water (but the flood isn't as strong as in the Bure), and you'll have the benefit of the flood going up the Bure. If you choose this time, be sure to take a wide swing around the yellow post at the entrance to the Bure, so as not to get caught out and be swept towards it as you make the turn.

"..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)

jess    -- Mar-30-2017 @ 8:01 PM
  Thank you, that's very helpful.  Now just have to contain the excitement for the next 4 months. Wink

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