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During Boat Fire Safety Week (29 May to 4 June), we want to remind everyone living or working on the waterways about the importance of having functioning smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms on their boats.

Boats in Hull marina

While boat fires are not as common as house fires, they can still have devastating consequences. It is crucial for boaters to take proactive steps to protect themselves and their loved ones. Having working smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms is critical in case of a fire or carbon monoxide leak. These alarms can save lives and give you the early warning needed to escape safely.

The Boat Safety Scheme (BSS) is a program that helps reduce the risks of fires or explosions on boats by setting requirements that boats must meet before obtaining a navigation license. The BSS also promotes safety best practices to support skippers in keeping themselves and their crews safe. For more information on boat fire and carbon monoxide safety, visit

Carbon Monoxide (CO) Information: carbon monoxide is a highly toxic poison that cannot be heard, seen, felt, tasted or smelt. It’s sometimes called the silent killer for good reason. It is the result of an incomplete or inefficient burn of any carbon-based fuel including wood, charcoal, coal, petrol, diesel, propane and butane.

It can happen with one or a mix of these factors:

• Faulty, badly maintained or misused appliances;

• Exhaust fumes from a boat’s engine or generator;

• Escaped flue gases from solid fuel stoves;

• Blocked ventilation or short supply of air (fuel needs oxygen to burn safely).

Advice for choosing carbon monoxide (CO) alarms suitable for boats, including a current list from the manufacturers can be found on this BSS web page:

Fire Information: smoke from a boat fire can quickly affect your ability to breathe, making it feel like you're drowning.

Just a few breaths of toxic smoke can render you unconscious. Having a working smoke alarm specifically designed for boats can give you an early warning and valuable seconds to escape.

Visit for advice on choosing suitable smoke alarms for boats.