National Boat Fire Safety Week 2015

Running from the 31st May – 5th June 2015, National Boat Fire Safety Week sees fire services from all over the country raise awareness of the many easily avoided fire hazards that can arise from living or travelling on a boat.

While boat fires are less common than household fires, they can be equally devastating to people’s lives. Boats are often docked in remote and difficult to reach areas making access for fire brigades slow and sometimes impossible. Being surrounded by water can lead to a false sense of security against fire hazards but it is not uncommon for boats to be completely destroyed by easily preventable electrical /gas based fires or human error.

There are now over 450,000 motorised boats in the UK and an average of around 20 fire-related accidents and injuries on them every year. In the last few decades 30 people have been killed in boat fires in the UK and it is estimated that 1 in 3 boat owners may not have adequate boat insurance.

Safe Boating

Safe Boating

With these statistics in mind many local fire services will be offering free fire safety advice for boat owners covering everything from basic fire prevention to ocean-based emergency procedures. Including instructions and information on:

  • Installation and maintenance of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
  • Safe on-board cooking and heating
  • Tips on how to protect on-board furnishing
  • Gas safety
  • Electrical safety

    Boat Fire

    Boat Fire

For most people not used to travelling on board a boat the emergency evacuation procedures are often overlooked, leaving lives at risk when fires occur. The UK government has released guidelines on these measures that give simple advice on how to structure an emergency plan in case of a fire:

  1. Ensure that everyone on-board is aware of where the emergency shutoff valves and switches are located.
  2. Always keep a torch next to your bed in case of a power failure and ideally one in every room of the boat.
  3. Never go out to sea with out a VHF radio on-board and ensure that everyone is aware where a handheld and waterproof VHF radio is located.
  4. Never rely on mobile phones for communication with the outside world.
  5. Never block exits and ensure that everyone on-board is aware of where keys are located for any exits that need to be locked.
  6. Always track your location so that you can relay this information to the emergency services.
  7. Pack a “grab-bag” at night with your vital possessions in.
  8. Never enter a room filled with smoke.
  9. Stay low if engulfed by smoke.
  10. Keep life jackets in easily located areas.
  11. When stranded at sea with an on-board fire make a Mayday call and display a distress signal as soon as possible.

So even if you don’t own a boat, use National Boat Fire Safety Week as an opportunity to familiarise yourself with a number of simple actions that you can take to help protect yourself, your family and your belongings when on-board a boat. Boat owners can also check with their local fire service as many will be also offering free boat fire safety assessments for the duration of National Boat Fire Safety Week.

For more information on boat insurance cover and costs, visit www.bishopskinner.com.

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