All that said by your previous correspondents about hiring would appear to be true, writes Tony Collins, who recently we visited the Norfolk Broads.
This included the hiring hotspots of Wroxham, Hoveton and Stalham. I was struck by the sheer number of hire boats tied up at the yards. However on visiting the visitor moorings at Sutton, Catfield Dyke, Horsey and Hickling, we found that if you don't arrive by 4pm, you will have difficulty in finding a space.
This would seem to provide evidence that there is a serious over-supply of hire boats in the area. They are pricey too It is not unusual to see asking prices of over £1000 for a week in June.
It is some years (even decades) since we hired a boat on the Broads, but we were struck by how much bigger the boats seem now, compared with the size we remember. There were 42ft x 12ft boats around in those days, but you could still get a boat of that size under Potter Heigham Bridge.
Bridge pilot mandatory
Now many boats, because of higher freeboard, will not only not pass under Potter bridge, but Wroxham, Beccles and Wayford Bridges are now on the 'not to be passed under' list. I further note that even if the boat will pass Wroxham Bridge, it is now mandatory to use the bridge pilot at a cost of £12. I bet the rivers up-stream of the bridges are a haven for those who elect to hire something other than an oversized gin palace.
Places like Coltishal, Geldeston and Wayford always were delightful. Now they must be havens of peace and quiet. Perhaps the hire companies, in going for bigger and flashier boats have priced themselves out of the market, whilst at the same time depriving their customers of previously available cruising grounds.