AS the British weather slowly makes its mind up and the sun begins to shine, boat owners in Somerset will be taking to the water.

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service is working with the Boat Safety Scheme this Boat Safety week, asking boat owners to ensure they make vital safety checks.

This week firefighters will be talking to boat owners and handing out leaflets to help them protect themselves and their passengers.

A fire service spokesman said: “The Boat Safety Scheme urges owners to keep their boats well maintained and to keep alert to possible leaks, poor running engines and the strong smell of petrol.

“The number of fires on boats throughout the coastal and inland waters is relatively low, but when a fire takes hold the consequences are often devastating.”

This year’s Boat Fire Safety Week has the support of the Royal Yachting Association, The Maritime and Coastguard Agency and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).

RNLI Coastal Safety manager Will Stephens said: “The RNLI is happy to support Boat Fire Safety Week. In 2012 the charity’s lifeboats launched to 81 incidents involving boat fires and a further 77 in 2013.

“If we can all help raise awareness of the actions that boat users can take to help prevent fire, and the sources of potential risk, more people can continue to enjoy their boating and avoid a potential tragedy.”

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