Safety ad­vice af­ter en­gine fumes cause death of boat­man

Macclesfield Express - - FRONT PAGE - STU­ART GREER

SAFETY ad­vice has been is­sued af­ter a man was poi­soned by fa­tal car­bon monox­ide fumes from the en­gine of his boat.

Christo­pher Reuben, 52, was found dead on his dawn­craft called No­madic on Oc­to­ber 15 last year.

His ves­sel had been moored on the Mac­cles­field Canal near Spring­bank Farm, Spring­bank Lane, Adling­ton.

An in­quest at Mac­cles­field town hall on March 7 con­cluded that Mr Reuben, from New Mos­ton, Manch­ester, died ac­ci­den­tally.

Now Cheshire Fire and Res­cue Ser­vice and the Boat Safety Scheme, a pub­lic safety ini­tia­tive run by the Canal and River Trust and the En­vi­ron­ment Agency, are urg­ing boat own­ers and dwellers to make vi­tal checks to avoid sim­i­lar tragedies from hap­pen­ing.

In the last 20 years, 30 boaters have been killed as a re­sult of car­bon monox- ide, ac­cord­ing to the Boat Safety Scheme.

Gra­ham Watts, man­ager of the Boat Safety Scheme said: “Over a mil­lion peo­ple are us­ing boats safely each year, in­clud­ing thou­sands of peo­ple who live aboard on the in­land wa­ter­ways, but our re­minder to crews and skip­pers is to treat the risks with due re­spect.

“Preven­tion is the key to stay­ing safe. All en­gines and ap­pli­ances need to be prop­erly in­stalled, well main­tained and used ac­cord­ing to the in­struc­tions.

“But car­bon monox­ide can oc­cur or be made worse when ven­ti­la­tors are blocked, or fresh air is in short sup­ply. Burn­ing fu­els need the right amount of oxy­gen to com­bust safely and it’s also in­cred­i­bly im­por­tant to keep ex­haust fumes out of the boat’s in­te­rior.

“If there’s a smell of ex­haust fumes aboard, there could be deadly car­bon monox­ide in the cabin and that’s why our belt and braces ad­vice is to fit a car­bon monox­ide alarm ap­proved as meet­ing BS EN 50291-2. Th­ese are type best suited for boats.

“And if an alarm go off, open the doors, hatches and win­dows and get ashore straight­away.

“The skip­per should turn off ap­pli­ances and en­gines as they get out. If any­one feels un­well, giddy, con­fused or sick they should get very ur­gent med­i­cal treat­ment.”

Nick Evans, head of preven­tion at Cheshire Fire Ser­vice, added: “I would en­cour­age any­one liv­ing or hol­i­day­ing on boats to en­sure that they pro­tect them­selves by check­ing that their boat is fit­ted with both work­ing smoke alarms and car­bon monox­ide de­tec­tors.”

For more safety in­for­ma­tion visit www.boat­safe­tyscheme.org/co

Chris Wim­bush

●● Mac­cles­field Canal near Spring­bank Lane, where the in­ci­dent hap­pened

●● Cheshire Chief Con­sta­ble Si­mon Byrne and Po­lice and Crime Com­mis­sioner John Dwyer at the launch of Op­er­a­tion Cross­bow

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