In the May BSSAC meeting, two matters were of particular importance to members. The first is the on going situation around Calor’s discontinuation certain gas cylinders. As David Fletcher, who is working very hard to obtain a resolution for all boaters, said that users need to know the exact position and what the industry is definitely going to do. There was considerable concern too that, with this problem, unsafe alterations have been made to some gas boat systems.
David summarized the situation of problems in gas bottle supply below:
Calor gas small bottles. Calor are still maintaining that they will continue to refill the small 4.5kg butane and equivalent propane but only as long as the existing fleet of bottles remains serviceable and only supply them at distribution centres (not marinas) You can read the announcement here.
We regard this proposal as useless, and our advice remains that if you can source an alternative to Calor that can fit your boat, and you can obtain it, go for it. We are in touch with other inland waterway groups and with some of the coastal user groups to see what is to be done. In the short term we would like to see the bottles available at marinas and trading boats so that we have some time to adapt to the new market. We also want Calor to allow marinas to hold Flogas and Camping Gas small bottles as suggested by Calor.
In the meantime we are looking for market intelligence from members.
Are you affected by this?
Have you been able to get an alternative supply?
Have you modified your gas locker to accommodate a different size bottle?
We are also interested on Calor general performance. We have reports of difficulty getting 6kg and 13kg cylinders.
We gather that Calor are now collecting empty bottles from dealers, Is this true?
What is your marina or trading boat saying about Calor response?
It is very important that any members, who have any details or personal experience of this problem, feed this back. You can send any information to me at email@example.com and I will make sure it is passed on promptly.
The second issue concerning the committee was the use of lithium batteries on boats. Obviously there will be a lot of work with on this matter with Boat Safety Examiners. There was concern that some boaters were trying to fit lithium and lead acid batteries in parallel. Some boaters said they had been advised that this was possible. This, however, is very unsafe.
If there is anything you would like me to mention at the next meeting in relation to boat safety or the Boat Safety Scheme, please email me.