Following the deaths of two friends from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning in a boat called Diversion in York in December 2019, the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) has published a safety flyer with the lessons learnt from its initial findings and the Boat Safety Scheme is urging boaters to read it and adopt the safety advice immediately.

The boaters died when the improvised and mismatched cabin heater installation leaked exhaust gas resulting in lethal amounts of toxic CO being pumped into the cabin near the steering position. The leaking gas and the fact that there was no working CO alarm aboard, may have led to the poisoning of the men’s blood systems without them having any warning.

David Fletcher has news of a study to monitor CO in boats.

Carbon monoxide (CO) continues to kill several boaters every year. The BSS requirement for alarms was introduced last year, accompanied by a significant press campaign, but there continue to be incidents, and the number of boats failing examination on this point continues to disappoint. The highest numbers of failures on private boats concern the amount of fixed ventilation. If this is your boat, you are at risk because there is not enough air movement to disperse the small amounts of CO contamination that are inevitable. Remember that the BSS is not about your safety; it is about the navigation authority discharging its duty of care to others.

COVID-19 News Boat Safety Scheme Examinations Temporary Suspension

Following the most recent announcement from the Prime Minister regarding the UK’s response to the coronavirus crisis, the joint owners of the Boat Safety Scheme (BSS) are allowing a temporary extension to safety certificates for those craft requiring an examination in the period until the 14th April. Any future change will be reviewed in respect of the Governments most up to date advice and we will advise you accordingly. In the meantime, Navigation Authorities and licensing bodies will maintain a record of extensions.

 

News releases on BSS issues can be seen here.

See the full text here

The navigation authorities have agreed to further extend the current waiver on BSS Certifications to 31 July 2020.

As BSS Examinations have been suspended since late March, there is now a considerable backlog of boats needing to renew their Certifications.

We strongly urge those boat owners who can, to book their Examinations as soon as their circumstances safely allow. This will help our Examiners to be organised so boats can be Certificated as soon as possible.

Remember that examiners are just as worried about coming to your boat, as you are worried about having them on board. It can be expected that boaters will need to sanitise the work surfaces of the boat, remove any clutter that obstructs the examination, and vacate the boat for the period of the examination. It will take some discussion, preparation and trust to achive the result. We suggest to use an examiner that is known to you, or you have used before.

David Fletcher requests help from members for some new research.

Last time, I talked about the new BSS requirements for carbon monoxide alarms and the issues with ventilation. I explained that there is a good deal that we do not understand about ventilation and air changes in boat cabins.

A major new study is planned for boaters in London, looking at CO levels, particularly the low levels that come from sources such as gas cooking or wind-carried exhausts from adjacent boats. CO measuring and logging devices will be placed in many boats, so that both high and low levels of CO can be detected. The study is to find out the extent of these low levels, typically 1-10ppm, whereas alarms go off at 50ppm. The data-loggers are simple, battery operated devices that plug into a usb port on a laptop, and can be interrogated with special software. The recording device will produce a graph of the readings over time, showing the extent and frequency of spikes, but of course it doesn’t show or record where the spike comes from. This second part is much more problematic; to relate peaks or high levels to actual events or causes.

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