With Valentine’s Day on its way and spring just around the corner it’s that time of year when people start to fall in love with the Broads National Park. However, all too often visitors enjoy the scenery before them and forget the damage that they might be leaving behind. We know that you want to leave the Broads as you found it (or better) so we’ve devised this quick guide to going green in the Broads National Park… so that you can fall in love again and again!
To make your boat hire choice a whole lot easier (and more sustainable) the Broads Authority has established the Green Boat Mark. The scheme has been running since 2011 and is the first eco-accreditation scheme for motor cruisers in Europe. Boats are graded on 25 different criteria including sewage water disposal, use of phosphate-free cleaning products and information given to customers, making this a scheme that you can trust. So look out for that green mark! There's also now plenty of choice when it comes to electric day boats, with companies such as Broads Tours, Barnes Brinkcraft and Richardson's offering more environmentally friendly options.
There are loads of really amazing businesses in the Broads National Park who make it their responsibility to care for the environment and by using them you can support their sustainable ethos. The Green Lady Eco Store is one such example; they sell an array of products which are ethically sourced and free from ‘chemical cocktails’, they stock cool products such as Old Norse Balms and Oils (based in Norwich), Faith in Nature and Badger Balm.
Don't forget that once you've used up a product you should recycle the packaging if appropriate and remember not to litter. There are a number of refuse sites in towns, villages and cities throughout the Broads and also at the Yacht Stations, so you really don't have an excuse!
Motor cruisers might be the most popular boating option on the Broads but don’t forget that sailing boats are available too. With a sailing boat you’re closer to the water, learning a new skill and are pioneering the eco way! Whether you’d be learning from the start or are already an old hand, look into sail-boat hire companies for inspiration.
If you want to find out more about sailing, look out for details of the Broads Sailing Festival coming up in June.
We can all make a decision on the brand of cleaning product that we use when we’re boating on the Broads. The cleaning products that you do your washing up with go straight into the river system so using harsh chemicals such as bleach is an ecological no-no! Try to use phosphate-free detergents and washing-up liquids to do your bit for water quality.
One way to make an environmental difference whatever vessel you might be on is to choose one with a low wash hull. The size and shape of the hull can make an enormous difference to the impact of the craft upon the riverbank, with badly designed hulls leading to serious erosion with regular use. Short full bows give high boat waves, while longer finer bows reduce this effect. If you can't avoid using a vessel with a high wash hull, then being cautious with your speed is another thing you might wish to consider...
Speed is incredibly detrimental to the crucial riverbanks along the Broads. The wash causes erosion and can also be disturbing to other boaters and wildlife. There are clear speed limits indicated along the river systems to guide boat users as to their maximum speed. If there was ever a location perfect for taking it easy, then the Broads National Park would be it, so what’s the rush?
There’s lots you can do to make a difference to the places you love, and these are just a few simple tweaks to help you do your bit. Because a Broads National Park which is well looked after is a Broads National Park you can return to again and again.