COMMUNITIES AND LOCAL
GOVERNMENT News Release (124) issued by COI News Distribution
Service on 25 May 2009
OFFERING FREE BOAT RISK CHECKS
If your home is a boat, you should get a smoke alarm, is the
message from the Fire Minister Sadiq Khan supporting the Boat
During Boat Safety Week, 25 - 31 May, Fire and Rescue Services
are offering free fire safety checks to boat owners, and urging
the boaters to be more fire safe on board.
Although boat fires on our coastal and inland waters are less
common than fires on land, when they do occur they can be
devastating to all involved, totally destroying the boat and
putting lives at risk. Boats are often in remote locations which
may result in firefighters taking longer to arrive.
Fire Minister Sadiq Khan said:
"A fire on a boat can be as devastating as a house fire and
puts lives at risk. It makes sense for boats with sleeping
accommodation to be fitted with smoke alarms. A smoke alarm gives
you the vital time to awake from sleep and escape the fire on a
boat, just as they do in house fires.
"With over 450,000 motorised boats on rivers, canals, lakes
and the coast around the UK, I am urging all boat owners to take
simple steps to reduce the risk of fire on their boats and ensure
that they have the correct fire safety equipment on board. The
Boat Safety Scheme provides valuable advice."
Boat Fire Risk Checks, available throughout England, offer
boaters the opportunity to gain invaluable help and advice from
their local Fire and Rescue Service about how to identify
potential problems before a fire starts, and what to do should a
fire break out.
Ten top tips for boat fire safety from the Fire and Rescue
1. Fit a suitable smoke alarm
2. Make a fire action plan including: planning escape route,
calling the fire service, turning off fuel and know when to leave
the boat and know how to deal with a fire if you can't get
3. Take extreme care when refuelling with petrol or changing gas cylinders
4. Avoid using portable gas equipment onboard, where possible,
and store all gas canisters in special gas lockers or open places
where any leaks will flow overboard
5. Check battery cables and fuse box connections routinely for
damage including signs of overheating
6. Take care when doing repairs - don't bodge the job
7. Keep interiors well ventilated if you're using adhesives,
paints and spirit based products
8. Always keep your eye on a solid fuel stove when it's lit,
try to avoid leaving the boat with the stove running
9. Do not leave cooking food or candles unattended
10. Take care with cigarettes, matches and pipe tobacco, ensuring
that they are fully extinguished - Put it out, right out
For boats, optical sensor smoke alarms with hush buttons and
sealed for life batteries are recommended, and choose those with a
British Standard 'Kitemark' or a LPCB
'Horseshoe' mark. Smoke alarms should be tested
regularly - Push the button, not your luck.
For further information about boating fire safety, please contact
the Boat Safety Scheme on 01923 201278 or visit the fire advice
for boaters at http://www.boatsafetyscheme.com/fire
Notes to Editors
1. For more information on fire safety
please visit http://www.direct.gov.uk/firekills
or speak to the Fire and Rescue Service local to your boat.
2. For further information on the Boat Safety Scheme please
contact Rob McLean, Communications Manager, Tel 01923 201353 or
3. The Boat Safety Scheme's role is to minimise the risks of
fires or explosions on boats cruising the UK's inland
waterways network, by specifying a set of requirements that most
boats must meet before they can be granted a navigation licence.
4. The Scheme also recommends a number of 'safety best
practice' measures which enhance the personal health and
safety of those on board privately owned boats. By working in
partnership with the Fire Kills campaign, the Boat Safety Scheme
is able to raise awareness of fire safety issues affecting the
boating community. By providing the necessary information and
advice, its aim is to ensure that the boating community are as
fire safe as possible.
Examples of boat fire incidents
Tidying up duvets causes boat fire
A duvet was stuffed into a
wardrobe, which didn't allow the door to close properly. A
light in the wardrobe stayed on and could not be seen due to the
duvet stuffed up against it. The light overheated, setting fire to
the duvet. The owners didn't notice the smoke initially as
they did not have a smoke alarm, but when they did smell smoke, it
took a while to find where the smell was coming from. Eventually
the skipper opened the wardrobe to find the duvet alight.
The owner of a catamaran moored in a harbour
was renewing the headlining of the vessel and using a strong glue
to stick it in place. Enough glue was used whereby there was
sufficient vapour given off to form a flammable mix, which
exploded once it came into contact with a source of ignition - in
this case the pilot light of the fridge.
A man was varnishing wood on his vessel during one of the colder
months of the year. As the varnish was not drying quickly enough
he plugged in an electric heater to try to warm up the cabin space
to get the varnish to 'go off' more quickly. He left the
boat with the heater running to have lunch out of sight of the
boat, and was told by a passer-by that there was a boat on fire at
Even inland, boat fires can be hard to reach
were forced to flag down a passing narrowboat to reach the scene
of an explosion which injured a man on a remote section of canal.
The man suffered serious burns when a fireball shot through a
boat. The windows were blown out but luckily the boat itself did
not catch fire. Petrol had leaked from a generator's fuel
system which was on top of the boards over the boat's engine bay.
News Releases: http://www.communities.gov.uk/newsroom