Carbon monoxide poisoning warnings for canal boat owners


Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service have issued warnings to anyone living on a canal boat to ensure they have carbon monoxide detectors fitted.

A woman was recently rescued from her boat after suffering the effects of carbon monoxide poisoning. Luckily for her, she had fitted a carbon monoxide detector earlier in the year, if she had not done this the effects could have been fatal.

Carbon monoxide is known as the silent killer due to its colourless and odourless properties. It is highly poisonous and is absorbed into the blood stream, effectively depriving the blood of oxygen.

The fire service has issued the following safety advice:

  • Never block cabin ventilators
  • Do not use LPG cooking appliances for space heating
  • Never leave LPG appliances on overnight, unless they are designed to be left on and are of the room sealed type
  • Do not use mobile (cabinet) gas heaters on boats
  • Never bring lit barbecues into the cabin
  • Never operate petrol powered generators inside an enclosed space, or close to any opening or ventilator that leads into the cabin space
  • Check that the heatproof cement around the flue of your wood/coal burner is intact and sound
  • Ensure all doors of any wood/coal burning and cooker has fireproof cords in place and are sound
  • Check all appliances are safe and free from faults
  • If the carbon monoxide detector sounds, turn off appliances and the engine, open all doors and windows and vacate the boat
  • Anyone with severe symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning should seek immediate medical assistance

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