Our parents probably shouldn’t read this one.
We nearly had a fire on the boat today. We were hungover and had gone back to bed after having had some bacon sandwiches for breakfast, and it’s only because one of us needed the loo and had to get back up that the next 15minutes didn’t go very differently.
I’m not going to lie: it has freaked me out massively. Boat fires are arguably even more dangerous than house fires, not least because there’s the whole ‘sinking’ thing to factor in on top of the hot fire/ smoke issues. We’ve been talking about boat safety on and off for ages – mainly discussing whether the official Boat Safety Scheme certification is a) worthwhile or b) excessively pernickety and an opportunistic money spinner. We went so far as to buy a fire blanket and a small powder fire extinguisher, which have been languishing in the cupboard under the sink ever since.
Apart from the fact that I’m not sure our insurance covers us for being total idiots – and not to mention how much we love our home, nor all the work we’ve put into it – there is only one entry/ exit point. And it’s at the other end of the boat from where we sleep. (Well, that’s not strictly true: there is a roof hatch in the priest hole – but it’s above my head height, and I for one don’t have the upper body strength to lift myself out – I’ve tried).
So this calls for giving ourselves a stern talking to (check), and for the urgent establishment of a robust fire emergency plan, if not the full BSSC.
– A fire evacuation ladder in the priest hole
– professional advice on the appropriate number, size and class of fire extinguishers we need, mounted at conveniently accessible locations throughout the boat
– To make sure our fire/smoke/carbon monoxide alarms are in the best locations and working, weekly
– To sort out our cooking set-up
– To fully investigate the merits of the BSSC and suck up the costs (assuming it seems worthwhile. I have to say, most of the leaflet on fire safety is pretty freaking obvious, but then we nearly burned our boat down, so…)