GENERALLY speaking, boating is a very relaxing and enjoyable pastime – in my opinion you just can’t beat pottering along the river on a beautiful day enjoying the tranquility and watching the wildlife.
But boats can also be very dangerous places if you don’t take sensible precautions about how you use them.
There are real dangers from fire aboard small craft which no right-minded skipper should ignore – and to drive that message home, the good folk at Shepperton Marina have arranged for a ‘Stay Safe’ open day on Saturday, September 12.
Between 1 and 4pm the marina has organised a visit from Surrey Fire and Rescue who will be offering practical advice to boat owners about how to reduce the risks of fire on the water.
When you think about it, there are more than a few ways that fire can break out on a boat – during refueling, for example, spilt petrol landing on a hot engine can quickly ignite. And how often have you put the cooker on to heat up something on the hob and then got distracted. Let’s face it; it’s so easy to do on a boat with lots of things to attend to. And that’s the way many an on-board fire has started.
There are also horror stories about the stupidity of some people which has led to fires on boats – like the dimwit who took a barbecue into the cabin of his boat if you please. Daft as a brush…
The key problem is that once a fire has started on a boat it can spread with devastating speed (take a look at the picture at the top of this column) because so much of the material on a boat is flammable.
The fire service representatives will be happy to answer questions and offer practical advice.
On the same afternoon, Surrey Police will be at the marina to offer advice about keeping your boat – and its contents – safe from thieves. It’s a particularly important time to listen to their input following the removal of PC Jim Halstead from the river. There is a lot of very expensive equipment aboard most boats ranging from outboard motors to GPS and VHF sets, most of which can be quickly removed and easily sold by thieves.
It’s a great opportunity to get some valuable free advice – don’t miss it.
I’M still receiving lots of emails and phone calls about the problem caused by irresponsible fishermen – many, apparently, of eastern European origin – taking large quantities of fish from the river and seriously depleting fish stocks. I’ve been very surprised by the strength and depth of feeling this topic has aroused and I’ll be returning to the subject in more detail a couple of week’s time. In the meantime, if you’ve got other examples of the problem, do let me know by email at mortsmith [at] trinitysouth.co.uk or by phone on 01932 561 111.