A Fire Safety Message for Boat Owners

Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service and the Boat Safety Scheme are joining forces during Boat Fire Safety Week (25th-31st May) to urge the boating community 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 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 onboard.

With over 450,000 motorised boats in the UK, and a growth in boating on many inland waterways, Shropshire Fire Service is urging the boating population to check that their boats are equipped with the correct fire safety equipment. People who reside on their boats are most affected by fire, but many fires could be prevented if boat users take simple precautions.

Firefighters from Ellesmere and Oswestry Fire stations will be giving Fire safety advice and fitting smoke alarms for owners of boats moored within Shropshire during Boat safety week

Tamara Hackett explains: 'Smoke alarms make a difference to the outcome of fires on boats. Our wish is to see smoke alarms suitable for boats installed in all boats with overnight accommodation.'

'Anyone in doubt about the alarm they need should contact us on 01743 260298 for a free Boat Fire Risk Check. We are here to make sure your boat is as fire safe as possible'

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 if fire should break out.

The key messages are:

Fit a suitable smoke alarm

Make a fire action plan

Take extreme care when refuelling with petrol or changing gas cylinders

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

Check such items as battery terminals and fuse box connections routinely for damaged strands or signs of overheating

Take care when doing repairs, and keep interiors well ventilated if you're using adhesives, paints and spirit based products

Always keep your eye on a solid fuel stove when it's lit, try to avoid leaving the boat with the stove running

For boats, optical sensor alarms with hush buttons and sealed for life batteries are recommended as are choosing those with a British Standard 'Kitemark' or a LPCB 'Horseshoe' mark. As with smoke alarms in the home, alarms should be tested regularly and should never be disconnected.

21st May, 2009