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The Warwickshire canal network is a haven for leisure boaters. But fire safety risks can lurk beneath the surface.

Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service (WFRS) is reminding all boat users of the importance of fire safety as Boat Fire Safety Week begins on Monday 27 May. 

Throughout Boat Fire Safety Week, WFRS will be highlighting key messaging and guidance on fire prevention, escape plans and essential safety equipment for boat owners.  

Should a fire break out or a CO escape occur, the critical survival factor will be the presence of suitable working smoke and CO alarms.  

As part of their ongoing commitment to community safety, Red Watch from Rugby Fire Station will be visiting Clifton Cruisers on Vicarage Hill, Clifton upon Dunsmore on Wednesday 29th May to carry out boat safety awareness and offer any safe and well checks that may be required. 

While boat fires on inland waterways are thankfully less common than house fires, they can be far more dangerous due to the confined spaces and limited escape routes on board. WFRS is urging all boat owners and users to take preventative measures to minimise the risk of a fire and ensure they are prepared if the worst happens. 

Key fire safety tips for boat users include: 

  • Install and maintain smoke and carbon monoxide alarms: A functioning smoke alarm can provide precious seconds to escape in a fire, while a CO alarm is vital for detecting the presence of this odourless gas, which can be fatal. 
  • Regularly service and maintain your boat's engine and electrical systems: Faulty wiring and poorly maintained engines are a leading cause of boat fires. 
  • Store fuel safely: Ensure all fuel containers are properly labelled and stored in a cool, well-ventilated area away from heat sources. 
  • Develop an escape plan: Just like in your home, having a pre-determined escape plan will ensure everyone on board knows exactly what to do in the event of a fire. 
  • Never smoke below deck: Smoking materials are a major cause of fire on boats. 
  • Extinguish all naked flames: Ensure all candles, gas cookers and other open flames are properly extinguished before leaving the boat unattended. 

Councillor Andy Crump, Portfolio Holder for Fire & Rescue and Community Safety at Warwickshire County Council, said: “Boat fires have the potential for devastating consequences. Prevention is always the best course of action and having working smoke and CO alarms on board is crucial. These alarms can provide a vital early warning and buy precious time to escape.” 

By promoting proactive safety measures, WFRS aims to reduce the incidence of boat fires and safeguard the well-being of waterway communities. 

For further information about general boat fire and CO safety, visit and more information can also be found on the WFRS website  

Published: 24th May 2024

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