One thing about boaters is the respect and consideration they have for their neighbours. Since our arrival almost two years ago (Yes! Really!!), it is unusual to hear radios, TVs or even musical instruments (there are two guitarists across the way and we know of several people who have keyboards) as we sit with the bow doors open in the evening and look out across the water.
Image: This isn’t us, but you get the idea.
A couple of nights ago I was awoken by a four beep tone. In the land of Fuzz, I couldn’t quite place it, but the pitch was sufficient to register and I thought perhaps it was the battery warning on one of the mobiles. I must have tuned it out because the following morning I thought nothing of it.
However, the following night, the four beep warning started before we went to bed, but Hubby couldn’t hear it.
They don’t call me an Old Bat for nothing.
I got up and ‘tuned my ear’ to the direction it was coming from. It wasn’t anywhere on our boat, and when I opened the bow door, it got louder. Hubby could hear it then, got dressed and went outside.
So were a few other people, and together it was discovered an alarm was going off inside one of the boats opposite. There was no-one aboard and the boat was secure, but despite the hour, it was reported to the emergency number and a message left.
Back aboard, Hubby couldn’t hear it but I still could, and managed to tune it out to get some sleep. My knee was really hurting so I only catnapped, and was therefore aware that the alarm was going off all night. That was until about 7 am.
It was reported to the office as soon as the staff were in, and the owner contacted.
There were several disgruntled and tired residents yesterday, and when we saw one of the lads coming down our side of the basin to find out which was the boat concerned, Hubby stopped and had a word.
We knew which boat it was, and get on well with the owner who is a really nice guy.
Hubby explained his theory that the problem was timing and daylight, or lack of it. Whatever was beeping was run by a solar panel, so when the sun set, after a while the power source failed. Come daybreak, and voila, solar power restored, beeping stopped.
Our lad said he had a key and would check for anything obvious, adding that the owner was coming down anyway in the afternoon.
Around 2pm, we waved across the way as we saw him lift the back boards and disappear into his engine bay. He had a pretty big stick in his hand and then I realised it was to prop the board up so that it didn’t fall on his head.
Having checked the electrics, he then went inside and came out with two disconnected alarms. Pressing the power warning button on one, there was a chorus of ‘That’s it!’ from about eight surrounding boaters, including me.
This was his carbon monoxide alarm which was connected to his solar panel and beeping because of a disruption in power. He has taken both away (the other is a smoke alarm with just two beeps at a different pitch) for replacement, full of apologies for the disturbance and inconvenience. As an added precaution, he has given his mobile number to the boat owner next door and said that if there’s any problem to give him a ring and he will be right down.
Last night waZZzzz very quiet.
Carbon Monoxide is a silent killer, so as in a house, having smoke and carbon monoxide detectors /alarms should be of paramount importance. On boats, it is even more so.
We are aware of an instance where a boat had a fuel leak that wasn’t noticed and four people, including a five year old child, slept aboard.
Not being boaters and the boat belonging to a friend, they had no idea of the danger until the following morning when they could smell it and three had severe headaches and one was violently sick.
One hundred and twenty five litres of fuel mixed with water was pumped out of their bilge and it transpired that the adults were all smokers and there were no alarms of any description aboard.