Video: Disaster averted in boat drama

THIS is the moment a boater's life was put in danger as he fooled about on the Broads.

THIS is the moment a boater's life was put in danger as he fooled about on the Broads.

A shocking two-minute video clip shows a man in an inflatable speedboat weaving around another boat at speed.

The man is then thrown from the dinghy, which is left spinning with the engine still running.

He then recklessly tries to swim towards the boat, a move which could have cost him a limb or his life.

The Broads Authority has launched an investigation into the incident, which is believed to have taken place on the River Waveney, near Oulton Broad, where the speed limit is 5mph.

Yesterday, officials condemned the foolish behaviour and reiterated calls for people to be safe on the region's waterways.

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Adrian Vernon, head navigation ranger for the Broads Authority, said: “It was a shocking thing to see. I've seen some stupid things in the past, but that really is something else.

“He is doing something very dangerous, cutting under the bows of the other boat.

“If it were me, I would be swimming in the opposite direction to safety, but at one stage he is swimming towards the boat - that propeller would have cost him a limb or his life.”

PC Paul Bassham, from Broads Beat, a team which patrols the 125 miles of rivers during the high season, said: "This is a very silly and stupid thing to do. On this occasion the person has come out laughing, but it could have been very different."

All modern outboard boats come with a "kill cord" or lanyard, which attaches to the passenger and immediately cuts the engine if they topple overboard.

Mr Vernon added: “We would urge everyone on the water to always wear a lifejacket and, if you have got an outboard particularly, the kill cord must be worn exactly for that reason.

“I don't know if the man had been drinking, but drinking and helming do not go together."

The message comes just weeks after another video sequence dubbed Summer of Madness on the Broads was posted on YouTube.

In the clip, holidaymakers on two cruisers at Horning suddenly find their peace shattered, and their crafts rocking, when another boat squeezes between them at a speed far above the regulation 4mph for the stretch.

Elsewhere, the rescue boat and two fire engines were called to help two men who fell into the River Yare, near Kirby Bedon, at the end of last month after their canoe overturned. It was believed the men had been drinking.

A spokesman from Yarmouth coastguard, said: "We do get called to incidents where people are being stupid on the water. We would urge people to wear lifejackets and not take any unnecessary risks. It's common sense really."

Over the past two years, there have been no boating-related deaths on the Broads, but of 11 injuries needing hospital treatment last season, six were caused when people were stepping on and off boats.