FIREFIGHTERS across Cleveland will be visiting boat owners over the next week to make vital safety checks and give out advice on how they can stay safe.
Cleveland Fire Brigade will be stepping up their patrols during Boat Fire Safety Week (25-31 May) handing out safety leaflets and urging boat owners to fit smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors if they haven’t already got them installed.
Over the last 20 years in the UK, there have been 30 fatalities in boat-related fires and a further 30 people have lost their lives to the ‘silent killer’ – carbon monoxide.
The message, timed for the start of the boating season, is that owners should understand the risks, make regular, basic checks, and follow their engine and appliance operating guidelines, as the essential steps to deal with the threat of fire and carbon monoxide.
The safety leaflet being handed out, which is also available on our Boat Safety page, provides tips on how to protect your boat and, most importantly, your crew from fire, as well as what to do if a fire breaks out.
Phil Lancaster, Director of Community Protection with Cleveland Fire Brigade, said: “Throughout Cleveland we have many miles of coastline and river including areas such as the Hartlepool Marina and the River Tees, where there are lots of boats and sailing vessels.
“Just two to three breaths of toxic smoke can cause unconsciousness, which is why it is so important for boats to have smoke alarms fitted and to test them regularly.
“Part of our preventative work involves making sure that boats are as safe as possible and if any boat owner would like a free boat fire safety check, call us on 01429 874063.”
People can also get safety advice on the move, with the top 10 tips to keep you safe from carbon monoxide available for smartphones, tablets and laptops on the Boat Safety Scheme website.
This year’s Boat Fire Safety Week has the support of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), the Royal Yachting Association and The Maritime and Coastguard Agency.
RNLI Campaign Manager Will Stephens, said: “The RNLI is happy to support Boat Fire Safety Week. In 2011 the charity’s lifeboats launched to 90 incidents involving boat fires and a further 81 in 2012. If we can all help raise awareness of the actions that boat users can take to help prevent fire, and the sources of potential risk, more people can continue to enjoy their boating and avoid a potential tragedy.”