With boating taking place on many waterways in Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes, Beaconsfield White Watch was keen to add its support to Boat Fire Safety Week (29 May to 4 June 2023).
The crew visited two local marina’s with the hope of interacting with people living or working on boats in the area. They also spoke to anyone who had hired a boat for leisure activities, as well as those simply enjoying the local waterways.
Gavin Darvell, Watch Commander for Beaconsfield White Watch which leads on water safety for the Station, said before the visits:
“If you are using a boat, it’s important you are aware of how to keep yourself and others safe. During Boat Fire Safety Week we will be taking our rescue boat, along with smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms and leaflets, down to the river and our local marina’s.
“We are hoping to speak to anyone that uses boats; so, that will include people hiring for a holiday or weekend break, as well as those who live on boats permanently, or work on them.
“Our aim is to raise awareness of ways to reduce the risk of being affected by carbon monoxide poisoning, as well as our core Float to Live water safety advice. – so if you are in the area please do stop and say hello!”
Fire safety advice for those on boats:
Anna Ditta, our Community Safety Co-ordinator for the South Bucks area, said:
“Sadly fires can spread quickly on a boat, and have devastating consequences. Boats are often in remote locations with difficult access, and this can result in firefighters taking longer to arrive at an incident, allowing a fire to destroy a boat and everything onboard.
“Even a moderate-sized boat can carry significant quantities of diesel, LPG and petrol. These fuels, combined with materials such as wood and glass-reinforced-plastic, and a number of sources of heat including engines, electrics and solid fuel stoves, pose a real risk.
“Our key messages are that you should fit suitable alarms, make an action plan so that you can escape in the event of a fire, understand the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and take extreme care when refuelling or changing gas cylinders.
“Records show that exhaust emissions from portable generators, and problems with solid fuel stoves and flue pipes, pose the biggest carbon monoxide risks.”
“It is for this reason that we are keen to urge the boating population – particularly people who live on their boats – to check that their boats are equipped with the correct safety equipment. This includes having working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms.
Our top boat fire safety tips are:
- Fit suitable smoke and carbon monoxide alarms to help keep you and your crew safe
- Regularly check and maintain your boat’s fuel, gas and electrical systems – if you smell gas or petrol, act immediately
- Never leave your cooking unattended – turn it off until you come back
- Refuel portable petrol engines and/or portable tanks ashore – never onboard
- Never leave combustible items like soft furnishings, furniture or drying fabrics, too close or above a solid fuel appliance
- Keep the cabin well-ventilated to avoid build-up of poisonous carbon monoxide
- Make and agree an emergency plan with everyone on board before you set out
- If in doubt, don’t fight a fire yourself. Get out, stay out and wait for the fire and rescue service.
The crew visited:
- Bourne End Marina, Bourne End, Bucks, SL8 5RR during the day on Thursday (1 June 2023)
- Harleyford Marina, Henley Road, Marlow, Bucks, SL7 2DX during Saturday evening (3 June 2023).
The crew are planning more visits to the marinas and local waterways over the summer, so if you happen to see them do stop to say hello.