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Home » Product & Planning Guide » Safety & Security » Fire & Smoke Detectors on Canal Boats & Narrowboats


Fire prevention is always the best protection from a fire on-board your canal boat or narrowboat. However a smoke detector can be your life saver if the unthinkable happens

The fitting of smoke detectors is a no-brainer, if you’ll excuse the term!

Fire can be broadly classified into two types:
Flaming fires and slow burning smouldering fires.

Just to confuse matters,there are three basic types of detector:

Ionisation: Lowest cost. Sentivive to small particles produced by flaming fires (chip pans etc). Marginally less sensitive to slow burning, smokey fires.

Optical: Effective at detecting large particles produced by slow burning fires. (PVC wiring, uphostery etc). They are marginally less sensitive for flaming fires. More expensive.

Combined: Most expensive. Does what it says on the tin.

We’ll let you decide what is best for you and your family. All types are available as battery operated units. Batteries should be tested regularly and replaced every 12 months. Advance units are available with test buttons and flashing strobe lights to alert the hard of hearing.

Placement on canal boat is important because of the nature of the design of the cabin sides. Where possible the best position is about 10cm down from the cabin roof on a side wall. The unit should be placed a suitable distance, but close enough, from the galley to avoid false alarms. Halfway between saloon and bedroom is appropriate.

Every few months, open the case and remove dust, cobwebs and spider poo from the sensors.
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