News release text
“Fire safety is something that everyone who owns or operates a boat needs to keep in mind,” say Kent’s firefighters who as part of National Boat Safety Week (27-31 May), will be visiting marinas.
Fire crews will be out next week talking to boat owners and reminding them that fire safety is just as important on a boat as it is in the home, especially with many boaters sleeping aboard their vessels.
On Bank Holiday Monday (27 May), firefighters will be visiting Dover Marina between 10am and 12 noon and the canal basin in Gravesend between 7pm and 9.30pm. Crews will also talk to boat owners at Swanscombe marina on Tuesday evening from 7.30pm-9pm and Dover marina on Wednesday (29 May) between 7pm and 8pm. As well as giving free fire safety packs and smoke alarms, they will also be advising on Carbon Monoxide (CO) poisoning, a major concern for boat owners.
Dover Watch Manager, Jamie Muddle, said: “During the last four years we have been out to 44 boat fires across the county.* While this number is relatively low, when they do occur, they can have devastating consequences. They can spread quickly, destroying your boat and everything on board. Before you get underway get into the routine of checking the boat for possible fire risks and make sure you are properly equipped and if you are carrying crew or guests that they know where to find fire fighting equipment and escape routes."
Thames-side Crew Manager, John Allwright added: “If you live or sleep aboard it’s even more crucial that you don’t take risks with your life. Fit working smoke alarms and detectors; test them regularly to provide the early warning needed to help keep your crew safe and your boat afloat.”
Following these basic fire safety precautions on board your boat:
Smoke alarms – if you sleep aboard, you need to have a fitted and working smoke alarm in the cabin(s) and on larger boats in the galley
Carbon monoxide and gas detectors – fit a CO detector in the main cabin near sleeping areas to provide early warning of CO build up. These are necessary when using gas and solid fuel appliances.
Escape plan – make a fire escape plan and have at least one fire extinguisher put near the boat exit
If a fire starts – keep calm, think of your safety. Don’t waste time trying to recover valuables. Isolate fuel and gas lines if possible to reduce the risk of explosion. If underway pass a mayday message, ask for the fire service and be prepared to abandon ship. Alert any other craft nearby to the danger. If alongside leave the vessel and call the fire service immediately
Know your location – so that we can get to you as quickly as possible in the event of an emergency
Fuel – only carry spare petrol if necessary. This should be stored on-deck in a self-draining locker. Never re-fuel near naked flames or with engines running
Gas – ensure appliances are properly fitted, with cylinders stored secure and upright in a self-draining locker
Electrics – all systems should be professionally fitted and turned off as much as possible when not on board
Fires, heaters and cooking appliances – never leave unattended when lit. Keep flues clear and the appliances well secured to a fireproof bulkhead
Insurance – your boat should be fully insured and documents kept in a fire-proof container, or ashore if possible
If you have concerns over any fire safety issues or live aboard, and would like free fire safety advice, please contact Kent Fire and Rescue Service on 0800 923 7000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
For further boat fire safety tips contact www.direct.gov.uk
Notes to editors:
*Between 2009 and 2013 Kent Fire and Rescue Service has attended 44 boat fires, 11 of which were derelict boats.