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Weather Weather

Fire Safety on Board

Fire can spread quickly on a boat, on and off the water.

  • Alarms and detectors can save lives.
  • Always test the alarm when you’re on board.
  • Fit them in places where you will hear them if they go off.
  • Fit a co detector for any carbon monoxide that may be present.
  • Always check and maintain your boats fuel, gas and electrical systems.
  • Check the bilges for oil or debris build up.
  • Check exhausts systems of inboard engines for leaks.
  • Leaks, spills and vapour can ignite easily so clean them up and make sure filler caps are secure.
  • Check your handheld VHF is charged up along with a torch.
  • Have enough lifejackets and wear them. They are useless unless they’re worn.
  • Know how to make a mayday call and to check for landmarks so that you can give your position to the coastguard.


  • Always check to make sure gas cylinders are secure after you have changed them.
  • Make sure the airflow is not restricted by blocking air vents or air gaps.
  • Always turn gas valves off before going to bed or leaving the boat.
  • Store the gas cylinders in a self draining locker, keeping them upright.
  • Get your local gas engineer to check for cracking, brittleness or discolouration.
  • Before setting out make sure your crew know how to close emergency valves and switches in case of fire.

What do I do if there is a fire on board

  • Make a mayday call as soon as possible.
  • Do not enter a smoke filled space.
  • If you are in the smoke, keep low down where the air is clearer.
  • Starve the fire of air; don’t open engine hatches or doors unless you have to.
  • Get everyone away from the fire and get their lifejackets fitted.
  • Take a handheld VHF radio on deck with you and call for help.

Fire equipment

  • Only tackle a fire if you are confident and know how to do it safely.
  • Keep fire blankets and extinguishers within easy reach. E.g. near the galley and/or the engine.
  • Always check fire extinguishers regularly for leaks and loss of pressure, along with expiry dates.
  • Check the pin and firing mechanism on fire extinguishers for any signs of problems and weaknesses.
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