1. ITV Report

Safety warning for canal boat users

The Kennet & Avon Canal where the safety message will be delivered this week. Photo: Franz-Peter Tschauner/DPA/Press Association Images

The dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning are being highlighted to canal boat users this week.

As part of Boat Safety Week and Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service will be visiting boaters along the Kennet & Avon Canal.

Boat safety advisor Rob Buckland will be travelling along the Wiltshire stretch of the canal to offer free safety advice and free smoke detectors to people who live, work or are holidaying on the water.

In the past 20 years, national figures show that 60 boaters have been killed as a result of a boat fire or carbon monoxide incident.

CO poisoning is most likely to be caused by the exhaust emissions of portable generators, or problems with solid fuel stoves including flue pipes.

Although boat fires on inland waters are less common than fires on land, when they do occur, they can have devastating consequences.

Boats are often in remote locations with difficult access, which may result in firefighters taking longer to arrive at an incident and allowing a fire to totally destroy a boat and everything on-board.

As well as taking into account fire safety on the boat, we urge boaters to ensure that they know their location at all times so that, in the event of any emergency, we can get there as soon as possible."

– Rob Buckland, Boat Safety Advisor

Advice is provided on general boat fire safety, such as:

  • Fitting a suitable smoke detector
  • Making a fire action plan
  • Taking extreme care when refuelling with petrol or changing gas cylinders
  • Avoiding using portable gas equipment on-board, where possible, and storing all gas canisters in special gas lockers or open places where any leaks will flow overboard
  • Checking items such as battery terminals and fuse box connections routinely for damaged strands or signs of overheating
  • Taking care when doing repairs, and keeping interiors well ventilated when using adhesives, paints and spirit based products
  • Always keeping your eye on a solid fuel stove when it’s lit and trying to avoid leaving the boat with the stove running

For further information about general boat fire and CO safety, visit www.boatsafetyscheme.org/stay-safe