Warning Against the Use of Damp Fuels

The Boat Safety Scheme has issued a warning to boaters, that the use of damp wood and logs in stoves could put them at risk of increased costs, stove damage and carbon monoxide poisoning.

Damp fuel will cause stoves to run at a lower temperature as the heat of the fire produces steam and hence the stove requires more fuel to keep the boat warm. The steam dissolves-out flammable, acidic tars, which will cling to, block and damage the stove and its chimney. Damaged stove installations are more likely to leak combustion gases into the cabin space, and because of incomplete combustion as the fuel is damp, those gases are more likely to contain carbon monoxide. Stove flues lined with tar could also lead to a chimney fire. It is therefore crucial that wood fuel is kept in a dry, well-ventilated area.

Wood that burns easily and cleanly with good heat will feel dry and have a hollow sound when tapped. The bark will either have fallen off, or will fall away easily and good wood often has cracks in the end where it has dried out.

Any wood that feels damp and dense or has the leaves attached should be avoided. Seeing green or white mould on the surface and not having any radial cracks are signs of potentially unseasoned fuel that needs drying before use.

Boat Safety

Find out how you can limit the fire and carbon monoxide risks arise from the way that engines, appliances, systems and fuels are used and maintained on the Boat Safety Scheme website.

More fire safety information is available on the Boat Safety Scheme website.

More information on stove fuels is available at the Solid Fuel Technology Institute's website.