Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service responded to 25 incidents involving a boat, motor yacht, barge or other vessels between 1 January 2016 and 11 May 2017.
Boat Fire Safety Week 2017 is an opportunity for RBFRS to help those enjoying life on the waterways reduce the risk of fire, explosion and carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning linked to boats in Royal Berkshire.
While incident numbers are not huge, each issue that needs the support of firefighters has the potential to be devastating to residents and visitors on the county’s waterways because it can be difficult for firefighters to reach boats and the risks higher in small vessels on rivers and canals.
Station Manager Jess James said: “Royal Berkshire has a fantastic boating community with many people living on and enjoying the waterways and we want them to live and travel by water safely – because in recent times we’ve dealt with some devastating incidents.
“Whether you live on a boat or enjoy the water occasionally, please take the opportunity over the next week to meet our firefighters and talk about boat safety and the risks of carbon monoxide, as a five-minute chat with them could save your life as well as your property.”
As the leisure boating season gets going and with school holidays and sunny weekends ahead, RBFRS crews will be taking the opportunity to engage with boaters to give them practical advice and support to reduce the risk and be safer.
The aim of Boat Fire Safety Week is to raise awareness of how boaters on both coastal and inland waterways can prevent fire and CO incidents and how to plan to react if an incident does occur.
Crews from Caversham Road Fire Station will be completing the following activities during Boat Fire Safety week:
Tuesday 30 May (Day) – The River Thames, Benson Marina
Focusing on engagement with the boating community, Blue Watch will be looking to offer advice and assistance to members of the public with limited boating experience, who charter pleasure craft from local businesses. They will be offering Boat Fire Safety advice, check CO alarms and complete boat safety checks.
Tuesday 30 May (Evening) – Kennet and Avon Canal, Burghfield Island Boat Club (BIBC)
Arrangements are in place to visit BIBC members and officials to offer boat fire safety advice, check CO alarms and complete boat safety checks.
Wednesday 31 May (Evening) – The River Thames, Moorings
Focusing on permanent and semi-permanent moorings, Blue Watch will be looking to engage with those members of the boating community who live in more secluded areas of the River Thames. They will be offering boat fire safety advice, check CO alarms and complete boat safety checks.
Thursday 1 June (Day) – Windsor Marina, Maidenhead Road
Focusing on permanent and semi-permanent moorings, Green Watch will be looking to engage with those members of the boating community who live in more secluded areas.
Friday 2 June (Evening) – The River Thames, Caversham Lock Reading
Red Watch plan to offer an ‘express safety check’ service. As boats pass through the lock they will aim to board, check and/or fit smoke alarms, check Carbon Monoxide alarms and give specific fire safety advice.
Saturday 3 June (Day) – The River Thames, Purley Marina
Red Watch plans to set-up a static display and offer out home fire safety check services. Red Watch will also display the drown-tank simulator and offer water safety advice.
Sunday 4 June (Day) – The River Thames, Thames and Kennet Marina, Caversham
The day will include community engagement with the offer of home fire safety advice for house boat occupants. Specific attention will be given to CO awareness for all those using solid fuel burners.