Keeping safe, on, in or by the water in Hampshire
Water Safety

Around water

Tips for keeping safe on, by or around water

By the water

  • learn to spot and keep away from dangers: you may swim well in a warm indoor pool, but that does not mean that you will be able to swim in cold water outdoors
  • do not risk tides, if you do not know the times, ensure you are aware of tide times before you visit a location
  • always take extra care around the water's edge, cliff faces and open mudflats
  • always follow the special flags (red flags on beaches mean it is unsafe to enter the sea) and notices that may warn you of danger - details can be found on the RoSPA website
  • children should always be accompanied by an adult, an adult can point out dangers or help if somebody gets into difficulty
  • always tell someone where you are going and when you expect to be back
  • you may be able to help yourself and others if you know what to do in an emergency - if you see someone in difficulty, tell somebody, preferably a Lifeguard if there is one nearby, or go to the nearest telephone, dial 999, ask for the Police at inland water sites and the Coastguard at the beach
  • find out about rescue methods at the RoSPA website 

On the water (boat safety)

In the event of a fire 

  • fire at sea - first call the Coastguard on either VHF ch16 or 999
  • fire alongside in harbour or a marina - first call the Fire Service '999'
  • give your location wherever possible
  • act quickly and make for the nearest landing
  • if you have one, use a fire extinguisher, if not use water from over the side.
  • never allow fire to block your exit
  • get everyone not involved in fighting the fire off of the boat
  • if the fire is close to a gas cylinder, turn off the valve, disconnect the cylinder and remove it to a safe place
  • if the fire continues to grow leave the boat  

Equipment you need to fight a fire

  • all firefighting equipment must be maintained in good condition and kept readily accessible for use in an emergency
  • all vessells must carry specific firefighting equipment:
    • dry powder extinguisher
    • foam extinguisher
    • CO2 extinguisher - do not operate in an occupied cabin
    • nine litre bucket
    • fire blanket 0.75 m x 0.75 m 

Gas cylinders 

  • make sure that the valve is switched off before you disconnect the cylinder
  • make sure that any new cylinder is properly connected before you switch the valve on
  • make sure the full cylinder is securely fixed into position
  • make sure the LGR regulator is compatible with your appliances

Before taking on fuel

  • stop the engine
  • turn off all heating, cooking and lighting appliances and extinguish all naked flames and smoking materials
  • close all hatches, doors and portholes
  • ensure the tap between the tank and engine is switched off
  • avoid overfilling, check the tank with a dipstick  

After taking on fuel

  • secure the tap tightly
  • ensure that fuel has not overflowed or leaked
  • mop up any spillages
  • ventilate thoroughly before starting the engine or using naked flames/lights  

Spare fuel

  • petrol should not be carried on board in portable containers if at all possible
  • where containers cannot be avoided only containers designed for this purpose should be used
  • containers should only be decanted or opened in a well ventilated area
  • containers should always be secured by a safety strap or quick release device 


  • never leave a cooker or appliance unattended
  • hatches and portholes that may cause a through-draught should be closed
  • keep spare/empty containers in the open air  


  • stop the engine and extinguish all naked flames
  • put out cigarettes, do not operate electrical switches
  • turn off petrol, shut off cock and gas cylinder valve
  • ventilate the affected space as much as possible, consider use of bilge pump
  • tie up or anchor at a safe distance from other craft
  • evacuate the vessel
  • warn others in the vicinity
  • call the Fire Service '999' and Coastguard on 'VHF Channel 16'  

General considerations

  • avoid smoking below deck
  • check bunk cushions conform with fire retardant material
  • consider fitting a domestic smoke detector
  • when evacuating due to a fire, ensure all crew are wearing life jackets