As part of Boat Safety Week [25–31 May] Devon and Somerset firefighters have been handing out leaflets and talking to boat owners to ensure they make vital safety checks, helping them to protect themselves, their passengers as well as their boat on the variety of marinas, canals, harbours and quays in the area.
According to Chris Wilton, harbourmaster at Exmouth Marina, the campaign is particularly important in the area following a recent tragic boating accident in Padstow.
Risk of carbon monoxide & deadly fumes
He said: "The vessels in our Marina have to comply with the British Marine Federation rules and regulations; this includes having adequate fire-fighting and detection provision, gas safety inspections and electrical test certificates.
"We also promote the use of carbon monoxide detectors in cabins as many owners spend weekends aboard and cook with gas and have gas or diesel heating, all of which could, if operating incorrectly, give off deadly fumes. We want boat owners to have a safe time on board their boats here at Exmouth Marina."
Accident waiting to happen
The Boat Safety Scheme urges owners to keep their boats well maintained and to keep alert to possible leaks, poor running engines and the strong smell of petrol. The number of fires on boats throughout the coastal and inland waters is relatively low, but when a fire takes hold the consequences are often devastating.
Ian Stuart of Stuart Line Cruises Exmouth was one of the recipients of boat safety support from Crew Manager Giles White and said it was key all boats in the area are fully aware of the very strict rules and regulations imposed by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.
“I travel up and down the River Exe several times a day and I am often shocked to see boat owners filling up their fuel tanks on board whilst still smoking. [It is] an accident waiting to happen," he said. "People don’t realise that petroleum vapours are heavier than air and will sink down into the bilges of a boat, many people have been killed by an explosion resulting from this carelessness’”
For more safety advice go to www.dsfire.gov.uk/YourSafety/SafetyOutDoors/BoatSafety