Travel News:

Why it’s time to ban this Benidorm on the Broads

PUBLISHED: 07:30 13 July 2017 | UPDATED: 14:45 13 July 2017

Is this really the sort of person we want on our beautiful Broads?

Is this really the sort of person we want on our beautiful Broads?


Dog walking along my favourite broadland path one Saturday afternoon, a cruiser was heralded by the bass beat of max volume music shattering the usual gentle rustle of reeds.

More than 10 novelty captain’s caps bobbed on the horizon. Beer bottles were raised, along with some choice ribald comments as they chugged by.

Decidedly worse for wear, they weren’t wearing life jackets. It doesn’t take Einstein to work out that crates of booze and 125 miles of waterways, some remote, don’t mix.

One 30-strong group on four boats at the end of last month behaved so shockingly at the normally peaceful serene Stokesby – I’ll spare you the details in case you’re eating your breakfast –families were horrified and police were involved.

Some weekends, according to Tuesday’s EDP, there are 25 stag and hen parties cruising the Broads. They are one of the worst, tacky and unnecessary excesses of the 21st century where losing taste and sense knows no bounds.

Our National Park is no Benidorm on the Broads and no one wants it to be. It isn’t the place for stag dos, or hen weekends either; if the prime objective of the weekend is to be so drunk all senses are lost.

No one wants a dead bridegroom or best man, hauled from the water.

The idea of mixing 30 tanked-up men and the waterways is a health and safety disaster waiting to happen, let alone polluting our beautiful unspoilt gem, which brings millions to our local economy, with noise, offence and unseemly antics.

Reputations can be won and lost quickly. No one wants it to be known as Booze Cruise Broads, the playground of the loudest stags and hens.

Police say they have to deal with stag party incidents quite regularly.

The pressure on emergency services, already stretched to near snapping point, will grow. Those resources don’t exist as a safety net for people who deliberately make themselves incapable to think clearly in deep water while refusing to follow the basic safety instructions to wear life jackets.

Not every Broads stag and hen party cruises off with the sole intention of getting tanked up and becoming incapable. But most do. It’s the culture of the event. Just ask hospitality staff and the police in Stag Centrals Prague, Magaluf, Blackpool and Benidorm. It’s hell and trouble with a capital T.

When drink’s in, sense is out, as my grandmother would say, along with consideration to other people, inhibitions and any filter for offence causing offence.

Self-control and decorous behaviour is rarely the objective of any stag party, nor is concern about how stag behaviour will affect other people – or even if it matters.

It’s their weekend, in their world and anyone who doesn’t find their hilarity amusing has had a sense of humour bypass, however crude, as the people at Stokesby that day last month discovered.

They are stags and anything is fair game. It’s “for the bants.”

The Spanish have the right idea. Some resorts are outlawing the stag vulgarity, one of the worst and unnecessary excesses of the 21st century, where losing taste and sense knows no bounds.

Mojacar in Almeria declared zero tolerance on public exhibitionism of anything phallic or crude and “unbecoming behaviour

Insisting on decorum, self-control and protecting public decency so no one is confronted with lewd behaviour, they have banned ‘props’ of inflatable dolls and anything offensive, even banning men in streets in shorts and no tops, a look so beloved of the British tourist and the culture of the stag.

Last month, the newspaper Sol Times reported how police in Granada were clamping down on over-the-top stag and hen parties with extra police patrols and hefty fines for drinking in the streets, loud singing and anything deemed to cause offence to locals and other tourists.

It’s time to take control before the weekend issue gets so bad it drives other tourists away, word gets round and others are put off coming. It’s quick to slide down the reputation table and a long hard slog to climb back up.

It’s not about snobbery, being precious or killjoys. It’s a safety, public order and resources issue.

If our tourists wanted stag hell, they would have chosen Benidorm.

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