As the start of the sailing season approaches, Northern Ireland Electricity (NIE) has issued a strong safety warning to sailing enthusiasts to take extra caution and to be aware of the overhead network when transporting yachts and other types of boats.
David Cooke, Safety Officer at NIE, is urging all sailing enthusiasts to ensure a clearance of at least five metres from electricity equipment at all times when working on or launching sailing boats.
David said: “This is the time of year when boat owners are thinking about getting back out on the water. We would urge anyone transporting boats to plan the route carefully, taking account of the overhead electricity network on the way.
“Look out for overhead power lines and any warning signs that may have been erected near small islands or inland waterways. Many sailboats have masts of 9m (30ft) or more and, as most of these masts are made of aluminium, they are an excellent conductor of electricity. If an aluminium mast or rigging come into contact with or too close to power lines, it could result in a fatality.”
NIE advises all boat owners to take some simple precautions to stay safe.
Plan your route carefully when transporting your boat to or from where it is being launched, making sure you have adequate clearance underoverhead power lines. When you are stepping the mast or erecting long aerials, be sure to do so in an area totally clear of overhead power lines.
Once out on the water, if you are sailing on inland waterways or near islands or headlands, you should still look for overhead lines as they do cross over waterways. You must ensure that your mast or aerial has proper clearance from any power lines.
Always check your charts when underway to ensure you are aware of the location of overhead power lines.
When anchoring on inland waterways or islands, look out for warning signs on banks for submerged cables. Don’t anchor boats over submerged cables.
Further advice is available at www.nie.co.uk
or by calling NIE on 08457 643 643. Follow us on Twitter @NIElectricity.