Category: Boater Safety
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Don’t burn damp logs

- new advice from the Boat Safety Scheme

Boaters using damp wood and logs in their stoves could risk increased costs, stove damage and carbon monoxide poisoning. To burn effectively, wood needs to be dried out, or seasoned, to a maximum of 15-20% water content. A fresh 1kg log with 60% moisture may be able to give out just under 2kW of heat, whereas a 1kg log dried to 25% roughly doubles the heat output to about 4kW. You should use wood that burns easily and cleanlywith a good heat output, feels dry and has a hollow sound when tapped. Suitable wood often has cracks in the end where it has dried out.Wood fuel should be kept in a dry, well-ventilated area.

Damp fuel causes the stove to run at a lower temperature, as the heat of the fire produces steam, so the stove needs much more fuel to keep the boat warm. The steam dissolves flammable, acidic tars that will cling to and block up, as well as damage, the stove and its chimney. Damaged stove installations are more likely to leak combustion gases into the cabin. Because of incomplete combustion of damp fuel wood, those gases are more likely to contain carbon monoxide. Stove flues lined with tar could also lead to a chimney fire.Any wood that feels damp and dense or has leaves attached should be avoided. Any green or white mould on the surface, or the absence of radial cracks, are signs of unseasoned wood that needs drying before use. For further information on stove fuels, Advice for boaters on staying safe from CO poisoning can be found at