The Norfolk Broads are a popular leisure and holiday venue enjoyed by thousands each year. Most visitors will have little experience of sailing or living on a boat albeit for just a few days. As Boats pose many different risks from buildings, the following notes are provided to all to help stay safe when afloat.

Boats are a generally small and have many facilities in unlikely places to make the maximum use of the limited space. There is little fire resistance in a boat with building materials consisting of timber, plastic and glass fibre which all burn readily. If a fire does break out it will develop rapidly consuming the fabric of the vessel with considerable speed.

A boat on the broads

Follow these common sense guidance to improve your Fire Safety while sailing on the Norfolk broads

Before you cast off:

  • Let everyone know the planned route. Use a map and highlight landmarks, which will give a guide to progress.
  • Everyone on board should make themselves familiar with the provided safety equipment which will include extinguishers, and buoyancy aids.


  • Stop the engine.
  • Turn off all cooking and onboard lighting appliances.
  • Extinguish all naked flames and cigarettes etc.
  • Check the fuel gauge or dipstick provided so that you do not overfill the tanks.
  • Make sure that the isolating tap between the fuel tank and the engine is turned off.
  • When the tanks are full replace and check that the filler cap is tightly fitted.
  • Check for any spillage or overflow of fuel. Mop this up. Do not wash it overboard except in an emergency. Remember it is an offence to pollute the waterways.
  • Ventilate the boat thoroughly before starting the engine.
  • Avoid storing fuel on-board. Only in appropriate containers and kept in dedicated lockers.


LPG. (Liquid Petroleum Gas)- Changing Cylinders:

  • Check the valve of the cylinder is turned off before disconnecting. Where there is more than one cylinder in a bank, check the manifold to ensure all cylinder valves are closed.
  • Do not turn on the full cylinder until it is securely connected.
  • All cylinders should be fixed securely in position.
  • Check the date, stamped on the high-pressure hose to the regulator. If this is more than 5 years it must be replaced whatever its condition.


If a leak is suspected:

Propane or butane is heavier than air and if it leaks will pool in the bottom of the boat, travelling along the bilges and hidden spaces. On mixing with air in the right proportions it becomes explosive, which can be easily ignited by a small spark.

Stop the boat and extinguish all naked flames etc.

Turn off the shut cock on the fuel pipe and the valve on the LPG gas cylinder.

Open the hatchways and spaces as much as possible to encourage through ventilation.

Tie up or anchor, keeping a safe distance from and warn other craft. Get everyone off the boat and prevent others from coming too close.

Contact the vessel hirer, and if applicable the emergency services.

If you are in doubt about any aspect of your safety afloat tell the hirer before you commence your trip.

If you require further information, or have another Community Safety enquiry please Contact us.