BOAT owners were given potentially life-saving advice when Hartlepool Marina was visited by specialist firefighters.
Cleveland Fire Brigade’s Water Rescue Unit was in town yesterday to offer important advice to berth holders and fit smoke alarms to boats.
The unit, based in Thornaby, also staged a dramatic demonstration of their capabilities including water rescues in the dock.
The exercise along Navigation Point was part of National Boat Fire Safety Week.
Members of the team gave out hundreds of leaflets carrying important fire safety advice, spoke to boat holders about evacuation plans and fitted more than 20 free smoke alarms.
Sean Smith, a watch manager from Thornaby Fire Station, said: “It’s even more important to have a working smoke alarm in a boat as they are very small.
“The spread of smoke and fire is going to be more rapid than in a larger premises so it is doubly important.
“The uptake has been good. Boats are the owner’s passion, a lot of them live on them.
“They tend to be quite clued up already, but it’s good to be able to offer any advice they might not have thought of like having evacuation plans in place and making sure any people staying on the boats are also aware of what to do.”
Cleveland Fire Brigade says at least six people have died in fires on boats nationally in the last five years who could have survived if the vessels had smoke alarms.
They added just two to three breaths of toxic smoke can cause unconsciousness. The water rescue unit also stressed how important it was for boat owners to always know their location in case they need to call for help.
Free boat fire risk checks are available by calling (01429) 874063.