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Stay safe and keep your boat afloat

Stay safe and keep your boat afloat

Aftermath of a fire on a boat in a marina

18 May 2015

Firefighters will be out and about in the run up to and during Boat Fire Safety Week, (25–31 May) passing on advice to boat owners aimed at helping keep them safe while afloat.

Lee Rose, Head of Community Safety at Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS), said: “While the number of boat fires we attend is relatively low, when they do occur they can have devastating effects as they are often moored in remote locations, making them difficult to get to. This can result in the total destruction of the boat and surrounding property.”

Earlier this year, fire crews spent over 12 hours tackling a fire on a houseboat in a residential marina in Hoo St Werburgh. At the height of the fire, six fire engines and specialist vehicles, including KFRS’s Technical Rescue Team fought the blaze on an eighty foot, 20 tonne iron Dutch barge. Crews used a water curtain spray on either side of the fire to prevent it spreading to neighbouring boats. Fortunately, the boat owner escaped unhurt.

Lee added: “Fire risks on board boats are different to those in buildings. Boats have as many facilities and storage spaces fitted into the hull as is practically possible. There’s little fire resistance in a boat – timber, plastics and fibreglass all burn readily and furiously – once a fire has started it will grow very quickly.”

Throughout Boat Safety Week fire crews will be at the following locations, talking to boat owners about the simple preventative measures they can take to help reduce the risks of fire on board:

  • Dover Marina Day with the Water Safety Unit on Saturday 16 May

  • "Push The Boat Out" at Tonbridge Town Sailing Club between 2pm and 5pm on Sunday, 17 May

  • Medway Bridge Marina between 11am and 4pm on Sunday 24 May

  • Harbour Arm Neptune’s Car Park, Herne Bay from 10am on Monday 25 May

  • Margate Harbour during the afternoon of Wednesday 27 and Thursday 28 May

  • Upnor Sailing Club between 2.30pm and 4pm on Thursday 28 May

  • Conyer Marina between 2pm and 4pm on Friday 29 May

  • Ramsgate Marina from 10am on Wednesday 27 and Thursday 28 May

  • Folkestone Harbour between 10am and 1pm on Friday 29 and Saturday 30 May       

  • Beacon Boat Yard, Rochester between 11am and  4pm on Sunday 31 May

  • Whitstable Harbour between 11am and 1pm on Sunday 31 May 

Lee ended by saying: “If you sleep aboard, it’s crucial that you protect yourself against fire. Make sure you have working smoke alarms and if you use gas and solid fuel appliances, carbon monoxide and gas detectors too.”

If you have concerns over any fire safety issues or live aboard, and would like free boat fire safety advice, please contact Kent Fire and Rescue Service on 0800 923 7000 or email home@kent.fire-uk.org

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