Cooking, heating, hot water
The most common fuel used for cooking on boats is Liquid Propane Gas (LPG). LPG is also often used to heat water, either for washing or central heating. Bottle gas that is used on boats is not the same as a fixed pipeline system used in houses and buildings. Bottle gas leaking into a boat can't escape as easily as gas in houses, so the risk of explosion from a leak in a boat is significantly greater.
There are hundreds of gas-related injuries, and some deaths, reported each year in the UK, so it's really important to make sure your appliances are checked annually by a Gas Safe registered engineer.
Trust the triangle
'Trust the triangle' and check that anyone doing gas work on your boat is Gas Safe registered. Anyone working on gas appliances whilst not being registered is working illegally.
However, not all Gas Safe registered engineers are qualified to work with LPG, and not all LPG engineers are qualified to work on boats. You can specify the type of gas and type of appliance you have in the search options on the Gas Safe Register website.
Have you got a leak?
If you've got an LPG leak on your boat, you might detect it with your nose, as the stenching agent in LPG is distinctive and very smelly. But don't rely on this, as depending on the location you may not be able to smell it at all. A carbon monoxide alarm won't pick up on a gas leak, only the silent killer from an unsafe gas appliance in use.
If you do smell a leak, immediately turn off the supply, evacuate, ventilate and then have it investigated by a competent engineer. When a leak goes wrong on a boat, it can go badly wrong very quickly.
- Ensure any gas storage or gas appliance installation on your boat, such as a cooker or boiler, complies with the Boat Safety Scheme gas standards.
- Never use portable camping gas stoves or portable gas heaters inside your boat cabin.
- Be aware of the signs that an unsafe gas appliance may cause, such as a lazy yellow flame instead of a crisp blue flame; soot or staining on or around the appliance; or excess condensation in the room.
- Never block up your boat's vents. They are there to help your gas appliances breathe and to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
To find a Gas Safe registered engineer who is qualified to work on boats, call 0800 408 5500 or visit GasSafeRegister.co.uk