As part of Gas Safety Week (14 - 20 September) the RYA is encouraging boaters to be aware of the dangers of gas on board their boats. 

If stored and used correctly, gas can be a convenient source of fuel for stoves and heating on boats. However, gas can become hazardous if pipework is not regularly checked and maintenance is not performed by a qualified engineer. 

Stuart Carruthers, RYA Cruising Manager, said: “The RYA strongly recommends that boaters do not attempt D-I-Y when carrying out maintenance on gas supplies - always contact a qualified engineer. 

“Apart from the risk of fire, poor installation, appliance failure and lack of maintenance are all factors that can lead to bad combustion, which coupled with poor ventilation can result in Carbon Monoxide poisoning which may kill. Following the correct procedures and making regular checks will all help reduce these risks.”

Gas Safety Week is currently celebrating its tenth anniversary. Over the years, the week long campaign has raised the profile of the importance of performing regular gas safety checks and how to spot the signs of Carbon Monoxide poisoning. The week now has over 5,000 supporters from organisations and individuals across the country.  

Jonathan Samuel, Chief Executive for Gas Safe Register, said: “It’s great to see so many people supporting Gas Safety Week this year to help share important and, in some cases, lifesaving advice about gas safety. It’s vital in these uncertain times to look out for the safety of our local communities and ensure people always use a suitably qualified Gas Safe registered engineer to work on gas appliances. It’s how we can all work together to stay gas safe."

Below are a few simple checks that boaters should do regularly: 

  • Check your gas appliances every year. Gas appliances should be safety checked and serviced regularly by a Gas Safe registered engineer.
  • Look out for fellow boaters. Some people may be may be unaware or unable to carry out what they need to do to keep safe. Help your boating community by checking with friends that they have their appliances checked and serviced regularly.
  • Check your engineer is qualified and Gas Safe registered. You can find or check an engineer at GasSafeRegister.co.uk or call 0800 408 5500.
  • Check for warning signs that could indicate your appliances are not working correctly. Signs may include lazy yellow/orange flames instead of crisp blue ones, black marks on or around the appliance, a pilot light that keeps going out and too much condensation in the room.
  • Know the six main symptoms of Carbon Monoxide poisoning – headaches, dizziness, breathlessness, nausea, collapse and loss of consciousness.
  • Install an audible Carbon Monoxide alarm - Check they are marked EN50291 and display the British Standards’ Kitemark.
  • If you smell gas or think there might be a gas leak, call the free 24-hour national gas emergency number immediately on 0800 111 999.

Remember: Regular inspection, together with a gas alarm, a Carbon Monoxide detector and safe operation will significantly reduce the risks associated with having gas on-board.

For further information about how to use gas safely on-board a boat, please visit the Gas Safety page on the RYA website. Alternatively, if you are a member of the RYA and require advice, please email cruising@rya.org.uk.