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Work of lake wardens and rangers in the spotlight

Windermere Car and Passenger Ferry rescue

THE work of lake wardens and rangers on and around Windermere has been praised.

The Windermere Lake Warden and Lake Rangers Services annual report, presented to South Lakeland District Council’s Lake Administration committee, highlighted the work done over the past year by SLDC’s wardens working in partnership with rangers employed by the Lake District National Park Authority.

The fire aboard the Windermere Car and Passenger Ferry stemming from an engine malfunction in May 2018 was highlighted.

Windermere Car and Passenger Ferry rescue

Frankie Flannigan, principal lake and parking services officer, told the committee: “Within 40 minutes rangers, wardens and Windermere Lake Cruises had carried out an evacuation of the ferry. That shows good partnership working.”

The report said: “The immediate response by the wardens and rangers, supported by Windermere Lake Cruises, resulted in the prompt evacuation of 85 passengers and ferry personnel in a safe and well-controlled manner. The incident was also attended by Cumbria Fire Service, HM Coastguard, Cumbria Police and Ulverston Inshore Rescue. There were no casualties; passengers and crew were safely returned to the shore.”

Following the fire, wardens and rangers supported a training day with Ulverston Inshore Rescue and the coastguard service in emergency response.

Operating from the joint base at Ferry Nab, SLDC’s wardens provide a patrol and rescue service, manage lake moorings and public jetties, provide boat winter storage and other boat and customer services. All wardens are trained in first aid and provide Royal Yachting Association powerboat training for other agencies. Water safety training is also provided for schools and other organisations.

The wardens also inspect and maintain eight public jetties around the lake. Over the past year a newly-refurbished jetty was completed at Waterhead. Rock marker and navigation buoys and provided and maintained and lake encroachment and dredging applications are monitored.

LDNPA’s four lake rangers provide advice to the public, assist with education on lake safety and monitor and enforce compliance with lake byelaws.

The report highlighted the fact that power-driven vessel registrations had stayed reasonably consistent over the past five years, 702 mooring sites had been leased over the past year (a 92 per cent occupancy rate) and that there had been a 14 per cent increase from last year on slipway usage, with 950 vessels using the slipway.

Wardens attended 199 incidents during the period, ranging from rescues to boaters running out of fuel and boats becoming adrift.

A customer information screen at Ferry Nab had been a useful source of public information, and safety information wsas also available on the LDNPA website and in leaflets and posters. The Windermere Lake User guide had continued to be printed for 2018 and Windermere Lake Byelaw booklets were available at Ferry Nab and on the LDNAP website. Laminated chart maps are also available.

Over the year, wardens and rangers also provided powerboat training to Winderemere Lake Cruises, Cumbria Fire & Rescue Service and local boat owners and wardens completed water safety talks to 441 children across the district. Cumbria Mini Police also had their first lessons on water safety at Ferry Nab.

The Great North Swim, Windermere Boat Show, three Windermere Motor Boat Racing Club race afternoons, Swim Safe for 1,600 participants, 16 Winter Series Sail Racing races organised by Windermere Cruising Association, The Boat Parade and regular one-off charity and local events were also supported.

Committee chairman, Councillor David Williams, said: “It has been a good year for the service. The wardens and rangers do a tremendous job that is not always prominent in the public eye but a lot of excellent work goes on.

“The situation with the ferry fire showed how they were able to come to the aid of the passengers efficiently and help make sure the emergency did not turn into a disaster.”

Councillor Dyan Jones, SLDC’s portfolio holder for the environment, said: “South Lakeland District Council wardens, along with LDNPA rangers, do excellent work on and around Windermere. Their achievements help to make the lake a safer and more accessible place for all and they should be congratulated for playing their part in ensuring that Windermere remains one of the jewels in the crown of our district to be enjoyed by everyone from South Lakeland residents to visitors from all around the world.”

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