Listening to boat owners, Speaking out for boat owners, Representing boat owners.


Stove failure

Solid fuel stove fails

The failure of a solid fuel stove was reported at a recent BSS meeting. The base-plate of the stove had cracked badly on three sides and allowed air into the stove under the ash-pan. The stove went into thermal runaway because of the extra air getting in, but fortunately the owner was present and able to monitor events until the fuel burnt out. The maker of the stove has said this is not a unique event, and that there are several reported every year. It is reported that the cause is corrosion in the joint gaps around the base plate. The ‘rust’ swells, putting tension into the castings. Subsequent heat from the fire cracks the cast iron material. The corrosion comes from dampness in the acidic ash, either from rain or condensation, when the stove has not been in use. Stoves that are not in regular use are obviously vulnerable. The advice for when when a stove is not in use is:

·       Clean out the bottom of the stove;

·       Do not leave the chimney open to rain;

·       Leave the ash-pan door open so that there is a flow of air.

Now the end of the fire season is coming, it is obviously a good time to have a good clean out and make sure that rain and condensation are not getting in. If you have had a similar experience, please let us know.

David Fletcher

Don’t burn damp logs

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.

Test your smoke alarms this clock change weekend.

The Fire Kills campaign is again encouraging people to test their smoke alarms when they change their clocks this coming clock change weekend. The snappy tagline ‘TICK TOCK TEST’, will help remind us all of the need to test our smoke alarms at this time of year.

Smoke alarms save lives, but only if they work.  With over 130 boat fires on Boat Safety Scheme records last year, including one fatal fire and many others losing their possessions and sometimes homes, it is essential that people test their smoke alarms regularly.

Safety alert on Beko, Flavel and Leisure gas cookers

The BSS has made an announcement supporting Beko, in its on-going campaign to find and fix dangerous older models of Beko, Flavel and Leisure gas cookers that can produce potentially fatal levels of carbon monoxide, if used incorrectly with the grill door closed. Beko and BSS are asking everybody for help to try and find the remaining cookers.

Further information is here

Near miss reporting

A near miss is an unplanned event that did not result in injury, illness, or damage – but had the potential to do so. Only a fortunate break in the chain of events prevented an injury, fatality or damage; in other words, a miss that was nonetheless very near. Although the label of 'human error' is commonly applied to an initiating event, a faulty process or system invariably permits or compounds the harm, and should be the focus of improvement. Other familiar terms for these events is a "close call", or in the case of moving objects, "near collision" or a "near hit".

Recording non-reportable near misses is not a statutory requirement but doing so and using the information provided is good safety management practice as reviewing the report (at the time and/or periodically) may help to prevent a re-occurrence.  Recording these near misses can also help identify any weaknesses in custom and practice. These may only happen infrequently but could have serious consequences.  A review of near misses over time may reveal patterns from which lessons can be learned.

Boaters are encoraged to report near misses below, and share experience for the benefit of all. NABO will summarise and publish any learning, and send it to Navigation authorities if appropriate. You may also wish to report the event to the applicable Navigation Authority.

Briefly describe the event, and give the date and place, perhaps weather conditions if relevant. Can you say what the route cause was? Lack of training or awareness, unsafe surface, lack of protective clothing, missuse of tools?


What we have been saying to our members