The Boat Safety Scheme is to be modified next year subject to a consultation

The Boat Safety Scheme is to be modified next year to require all craft with ‘accommodation spaces’ to be fitted with carbon monoxide (CO) alarms – subject to a consultation on which ends on 9 November.

The ‘silent killer’ CO, which can be produced in engines, generators, stoves and other appliances by incomplete combustion of petrol, diesel, gas or solid fuel, has been responsible for a number of deaths of boaters – including in 2017, two people on board Broads cruiser Love for Lydia. The investigation into that particular case included a recommendation that “the BSS make the installation of carbon monoxide alarms a requirement for recreational craft participating in the Boat Safety Scheme.”

The new checks, to be introduced as part of the regular BSS examination from 1 April 2019, will apply to all craft with accommodation – irrespective of whether they have engines or appliances capable of producing CO. This is in line with the scheme’s remit “to have in place measures that protect boat owners from the activity of others”: the BSS says that its investigations have shown that boaters are at “medium risk” of poisoning from sources of CO generated outside of the boat by others, such as engines and appliances on adjacent boats.

Alarms will need to be suitable, in good condition, and in a suitable location. Some craft will need more than one, if they have more than one accommodation space, more than one solid fuel stove, or a space divided by cabin doors.

The BSS is considering a similar requirement for smoke alarms in the future.

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