The Boat Safety Scheme has warned boatowners not to use petrol generators in enclosed spaces

Boatowners should never use petrol generators in enclosed spaces – this is the latest warning from the Boat Safety Scheme.

The leading safety body has warned on the dangers of petrol generators after boatowner Matthew Eteson was recently found guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence.

Mr Eteson had fitted a homemade ventilation shaft and silencer to his engine-bay generator, which failed under the heat of the system and poisoned his girlfriend and her 10-year-old daughter.

However, the Boat Safety Scheme has said that such modifications should never be considered due to the risk of carbon monoxide build-up.

Graham Watts of the Boat Safety Scheme said: “On too many occasions we hear of fatalities or near fatalities on boats caused by the incorrect use of portable generators.

“The heart-breaking thing is that on most occasions the accident could have been avoided, and lives saved, if generators are used according to manufacturer’s instructions – in the open and away from the boat.”

The advice from the Boat Safety Scheme is not to make any modifications that are not supported by the manufacturer and never use a petrol generator in an area where fumes could drift into your boat.

Furthermore, the safety body advises that boatowners should take their generators ashore before refuelling, to remove the risk of an accidental fire.

UPDATE: Matthew Eteson was today handed a two-year suspended prison sentence.

Joanna White, senior crown prosecutor from CPS North West Complex Casework Unit, said: “This case should act as a warning about the terrible consequences of such a poor standard of work in the installation of appliances.”