4
May
Fishing boat at sail
PAT Roberts

Post-Covid boat safety guide

Many of us have spent the past year counting down the days until we can get out and about again, whether on foot, on wheels or by boat.

With more of the UK leisure and tourism sector opening back up in the coming weeks, and international travel still in considerable doubt, this is likely to be a summer of staycations for British holidaymakers.

For those with boats, primarily those operating in the fishing industry, this is a much welcomed opportunity to get back out on the water, but it’s essential to take extra precautions surrounding your safety on the country’s coastline, rivers, canals and lakes.

The Boat Safety Scheme (BSS) has issued guidance for its inspectors in light of COVID-19, which includes some scenarios that might be useful for boat owners too.

Recommissioning gas

If your gas has been shut off due to your boat sitting unused during lockdown, you will need to recommission your supply.

This can be done by a qualified professional or, if you feel comfortable about what you need to do, the vessel’s owner can undertake the work.

In either case, make sure you have a system such as the Pilot Gas Alarm installed, so that you will be alerted to any unnoticed leaks once your gas is flowing again.

Houseboats

If you live on your vessel, you may need to leave for several hours while your BSS inspection is carried out, due to concerns about maintaining social distancing if you are present.

Owners should ensure all relevant equipment is present and accessible, without any clutter blocking the way.

The BSS advises that this particularly includes removing all access panels, and having fire extinguishers and carbon monoxide alarms in place for inspection.

Self-isolating

If you are self-isolating aboard your boat and you have a serious safety concern, for example if your Pilot Gas Alarm detects a leak, you can have a professional come aboard to check it and carry out any necessary repairs.

The BSS explains: “If the owner already knows the boat has a problem that is potentially a direct risk to the safety of the household or to the public, then the government guidance is that a professional can work in that household to remedy the risk.”