‘More needs to be done’: Report into deaths of Alan Frost, Tina Wilkins and their dog at Wroxham Island calls for carbon monoxide alarms on boats
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A couple who died after they suffered carbon monoxide poisoning from exhaust fumes from their boat's engine had been on their first holiday aboard the motor cruiser, a report published today has revealed.
The bodies of Essex couple Alan Frost and Tina Wilkins, 64 and 51, along with their dog, were found in June last year on the boat Love for Lydia, which was moored alongside Wroxham Island on Wroxham Broad.
An accident report into their deaths published today by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch has called for more to be done to make leisure boaters aware of the dangers of carbon monoxide, and the report's recommendations have also been welcomed by the Broads Authority.
The report said the couple had previously hired boats on the Broads and that Love for Lydia was the first they had owned. It said the carbon monoxide that poisoned the couple had been from the exhaust fumes from the boat's petrol engine which was probably being run to charge the boat's batteries, and that the couple 'did not recognise the danger from the exhaust fumes'.
It said the boat was not 'adequately ventilated', with the forepeak cabin's deck hatch and port holes shut, and there was no carbon monoxide alarm on board to alert them to the danger.
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'The carbon monoxide from the 'wet' exhaust at the stern of the boat spread under the canvas canopy on the aft deck and then into the forepeak cabin, where it quickly reached lethal concentrations,' the report said.
The MAIB, which following the incident issued a safety bulletin and published a video highlighting the dangers of carbon monoxide, said a 'co-ordinated and concerted campaign' was needed to raise awareness among leisure boaters.
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It said: 'A number of organisations continue to raise the awareness of leisure boaters to the dangers of carbon monoxide, but more needs to be done. A recommendation has been made to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency intended to re-energise various industry bodies into agreeing a co-ordinated and concerted campaign. Recommendations have also been made to the Boat Safety Scheme and British Marine which are intended to realise the mandatory fitting of carbon monoxide alarms on board new recreational craft and on board existing recreational craft using inland waterways.'
The Broads Authority has welcomed the recommendations in the Marine Accident Investigation Branch report.
John Packman, the chief executive of the Broads Authority, said: 'Thankfully accidents like this are very rare, however we encourage the boating community to welcome the recommendations within the MAIB report following this tragic incident.
'Safety is of paramount importance on the water and the Broads Authority will continue to support the promotion of carbon monoxide alarms along with measures such as encouraging people to switch engines off whilst moored.'
The full accident report from the Marine Accident Investigation Branch will be available to view online at www.gov.uk/government/organisations/marine-accident-investigation-branch