How safe are you aboard?

As part of this year’s Boat Fire Safety Week (28 May to 3 June 2018) Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service is urging boaters to ensure that they have suitable smoke and carbon monoxide alarms fitted. 

Although boat fires on inland waters are less common than fires on land, when they do occur they can have devastating consequences. This is due to the confined space on boats and the limited access routes as means of escape.

Timed for the start of the boating season, the heart of the message is that all crew members should understand the risks and follow the published advice from the Boat Safety Scheme in its leaflets and on its website.

Information leaflets are available at local marinas to alert people to the risks and help them protect themselves and their passengers. The Fire Safety on Boats leaflet provides tips on how to protect your boat and, most importantly, your crew from fire, as well as what to do if a fire breaks out. The Carbon Monoxide Safety on Boats leaflet highlights the safeguards boat owners can take to minimise the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Despite all efforts, should a fire break out or a carbon monoxide escape occur, the critical survival factor will be the presence of suitable working smoke and CO alarms. The scheme publishes lists of suitable alarms on its website and has advice from the manufacturers on the best places to fix the devices. Alarms should be tested using the test button routinely and the batteries replaced as necessary and never removed.

Talking about Boat Fire Safety Week, Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Services Community Fire Prevention and Arson Manager, Moreno Francioso said:

“While boat fires are relatively low in Warwickshire, they do have the potential for devastating consequences and so we would urge all boat users to take note of the advice above and do everything they can to stay safe”.

Portfolio Holder for Fire and Community Safety, Cllr Howard Roberts said:

“During Boat Fire Safety Week we are asking both people living on boats and those using them for recreation to think carefully about how they stay fire safe. This can be achieved by taking simple steps, such as turning off all appliances when you leave the boat, extinguishing all smoking material and having an escape plan. Little changes really can make a huge difference to your safety!”

In the past 20 years, 30 boaters were killed in boat fires and another 30 lost their lives to the highly toxic CO gas. To help you stay safe or for further information on general boat fire and CO safety, visit www.boatsafetyscheme.org/stay-safe