River advice after anglers' deaths

KEY safety advice was today issued to people venturing out onto Suffolk's rivers following the deaths of two men heading off on a fishing trip.

KEY safety advice was today issued to people venturing out onto Suffolk's rivers following the deaths of two men heading off on a fishing trip.

Harbourmasters at Felixstowe Ferry and experts from RoSPA urged people to take the utmost care on the water at all times.

Assistant harbourmaster Stephen Read said he had filed a report on the deaths of Nottinghamshire men Michael Palmer, 62, and Mick Hall, 67, to the Marine Accident Investigation Branch, which has now decided not launch its own inquiry after taking account of the circumstances.

The pair were in a dinghy rowing for Mr Palmer's 28ft Marlin yacht, after a night out at Felixstowe Ferry, when they fell into the River Deben.


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Neither was wearing life jackets which could have saved their lives.

Sailors were today told they should:

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Wear a life jacket at all times;

Tell someone ashore where they are going, giving times when they are leaving and returning;

Not drink large amounts of alcohol before taking to the water.

Be especially careful when getting on or off dinghies and yachts.

Check the weather forecast for the day and go equipped for the conditions.

Take notice of danger warning signs particular to an area.

Undertake training - through a club or organisation if possible.

Mr Read said: “Telling someone where you are going and when is really important, especially at night when there are not so many people about.

“If I am going out to my boat at night I always ask someone to stand on the beach and just watch out for me - and make sure the lights go on on the boat when I get there to see I have arrived safely.

“Life jackets are paramount, too, and we would urge people not to drink large amounts of alcohol before they go out onto the water because your body temperature will drop far more quickly if you fall in and have been drinking. Treat the water with the respect it deserves.”

Mr Palmer's son Andrew, 34, said his father and Mr Hall, who had known each other ten years, regularly went on fishing expeditions to Suffolk.

He said: “We would like people to remember that conditions can change on the water and people should do all they can to get the right safety equipment and prepare themselves properly.”

The men were found about 11am on Sunday

At this stage police are not treating the deaths as suspicious. Inquests will be held in due course.

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