RYA members have until Friday, 9 November 2018 to have their say on the Boat Safety Scheme's public consultation on the introduction of mandatory carbon monoxide (CO) alarms on Boat Safety Scheme boats.

The public safety initiative owned by the Canal & River Trust and the Environment Agency aims to minimise the risk of boat fires, explosions, pollution and to prevent CO harming people.

The proposed mandatory new BSS Requirements will require boat owners to maintain their CO alarms in good condition and in suitable locations on all classes of boat with accommodation spaces.Silent killer

Alarms can also serve to alert craft occupants to moderate levels of CO which can be a long-term threat to health if left undetected.

Carbon monoxide, a silent unseen killer, could affect boat owners and crews from sources of CO generated outside of the boat by others, such as the use of engines and appliances on nearby boats.

The BSS stakeholder and management committees described the potential risk posed to other boat users by carbon monoxide-rich engine emissions and used evidence from the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) findings published in May 2017 following the ‘Love For Lydia’ fatal tragedy, in which a couple and their dog died after inhaling carbon monoxide whilst on their boat in the Norfolk Broads.

Have your say

Those wanting to leave feedback on the consultation can do so using the form on the BSS website by 16.30 on Friday, 9 November 2018.  For more information on the proposals and to make comments, visit the BSS website or email your comments to BSS.enquiries@boatsafetyscheme.org.Graham Watts, BSS manager said: “I encourage all who may be affected to consider the Scheme’s proposals and comment. It’s encouraging that so many boat owners already enjoy the protection of CO alarms, however if you haven’t yet got one and we have persuaded you to act now, please take a look at the BSS list of CO alarms recommended as suitable for boats by the manufacturers’ body.

“Follow fitting instructions supplied with the alarm, but if these are difficult to meet fully on a boat, then best practice placement guidance can be found in the CO Safety on Boats leaflet.”

The BSS will produce a summary of the views expressed in the consultation and the BSS responses, by Friday 21 December 2018 and will publish it on their website.

BSS stakeholders are hoping the mandatory new BSS Requirements will come into effect from January 2019 and will be implemented as BSS Checks on 1 April 2019.

Know the signs

When CO enters the body, it replaces the oxygen in the bloodstream and prevents the blood from bringing oxygen to the heart, brain, body tissues, and organs.

The symptoms of CO poisoning are similar to flu or food poisoning, and include headaches, tiredness, nausea and dizziness. The greater the amount of CO the more severe the symptoms will get leading to weakness, loss of balance and memory. Extreme levels may well cause collapse, unconsciousness and death.

CO levels that do not kill can cause serious harm to health if breathed in over a long period. In extreme cases paralysis and brain damage can be caused as a result of prolonged exposure.

The RYA is committed to increasing public understanding of the risks of CO poisoning in order to reduce incidents, fatalities and ill health related to the poisonous gas.

More information is available on the RYA safety hub, from the Carbon Monoxide Safety on boats leaflet or you can visit www.boatsafetyscheme.org/co.