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Narrowboats & Canal Boats


Many canal boats use returnable LPG cylinders for the on-board storage of gas for heating water and cooking.

With gas being highly volatile and potentially dangerous, it is essential that gas cylinders are stored safely and securely.

Canal boat gas lockers are storage compartments for LPG gas cylinders.

They can be located either at the bow or the stern of the boat but are always located outside. Bow lockers are usually integral, sitting above the water tank. Rear lockers, usually situated on the deck of a cruiser stern, are simply gas bottle sized rectangular steel boxes.

Gas is heavier than air so it is essential a leak cannot get into the boat bilges, from where there is no escape. A build up of gas will result in an explosion.

Your Boat Safety Scheme examiner will pay particular attention to your gas locker. He will check the age, condition and length of any flexible gas hose. He will inspect regulators and will check for the security of the gas bottle securing points where fitted.

Anything in your gas locker that could potentially puncture a cylinder such as mooring pins will be a non-compliance and the lockers themselves must not contain anything that could ignite the LPG. Bottles must be securely fastened to prevent them causing a hazzard in the event of an emergency.

So lockers must contain drop vents at low level where any leaked gas can escape from.

Your examiner will require the locker to be unlocked for inspection so if you are having a visit and are not there, ensure he has keys.

*As a foot note here, we would say that you have to weigh up whether or not to actually securely lock your gas locker in the first place. Reasons for locking it really come down to security from theft. Reasons for not locking it are safety in the event access is required to shut-off valves in an emergency.
Perhaps a happy medium is to turn off your gas and padlock your gas locker when leaving your boat unattended for any period of time. Otherwise, make life easier for yourself and leave the gas bottles and safety regulators/taps accessible.
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