When someone who lives aboard their boat dies in tragic circumstances (link) it brings it home to all of us how easily things can go so terribly wrong.
When we lived in the house and had students, we had an evacuation plan and made sure our visitors were aware of the exits and our RVP in the case of an emergency.
Being on the boat is no different (apart from the unlikelihood of overnight visitors), and Hubby and I are in complete agreement as to our procedure should we need to vacate our home in a hurry.
We each have a BUGOUT bag, and the priority is to get ourselves and the dog to safety, and if the boat sinks, it sinks.
We’re insured, and there is nothing aboard risking our lives for, though obviously if we had adequate warning we can collect relevant documentation which is kept all in one place. Possessions, however personal, are just ‘stuff’ and can be replaced. Our lives can’t.
There’s probably only one thing worse than having to evacuate the boat and that is having to do it in the middle of the night.
We have three fire extinguishers and two alarms on board, one for carbon monoxide, AKA the Silent Killer, and a smoke alarm. Both batteries are checked regularly, and we know the smoke alarm works because every time I fry bread, I set it off.
Once a year, the Fire Brigade carry out informative safety visits at random on marinas, and we have invited the guys in for our own peace of mind if nothing else.
Every four years, boats have to be issued with a safety certificate before they are permitted on the water, and so alarms and extinguishers are compulsory.
Last night was particularly hot and muggy.
We were atop the bed covers, and the hatchways were open as were all possible windows.
Maggie was flaked out on the bottom of the bed, Hubby was restless, and I couldn’t get my knee organised.
Suddenly, the smoke alarm went off.
We were both up and reaching for our clothes in seconds, me throwing the hatch cover over the back door back as far as it would go.
All the lights were turned on (we have two-way switches at each end of the boat), and we were both sniffing the air to ascertain where the smoke was coming from.
Except there wasn’t any.
The alarm shut off after four beeps and all was silent.
I couldn’t tell you what the time was, as I had one leg in my joggers and finding a clock was the last thing on my mind.
Maggie went back to sleep.
We couldn’t smell anything untoward.
We couldn’t see any danger.
We had no idea what had triggered it, but knew we hadn’t dreamt it.
Hubby checked outside.
There was no smoke coming from anyone else that could have filtered in. In fact the sky was clear and still.
We got back into bed, though it was a while before we relaxed enough to go to sleep.
Hubby has done a thorough check this morning.
The batteries in both alarms are good. Everything is as it should be.
What is so strange is that the alarm actually went off, not that intermittent five minute chirrup warning of a low battery.
I haven’t seen any of the other residents this morning to find out if we disturbed anyone.
Still, it was a good exercise in our evacuation procedure, and at least we know our reflexes are good!
Photo: Offenham, returning from Stratford-upon-Avon last year.