Friday, 6 April 2012

Safety and security

As I have been watching the portholes go in, it has reminded me of two other key objectives in the design of the boat that I have not mentioned before - safety and security. These issues have always been important to me at home and at work so it is no surprise to learn that this has been the same with Skylark. I think the reason I have not mentioned it before, is because is seems so obvious to me.

With the portholes the security benefits are clear. The main one being they are small compared to windows. I don't think even a child could squeeze through a broken porthole unless there was a very unscrupulous Bill Sykes pushing him in. These portholes are also good because the glass is toughened but also easily replaced. They can be opened for ventilation and taken out if that's wanted. They limit the view someone might have into the boat and, from a comfort point of view, they offer better insulation than larger windows.  Having now got the portholes fitted, I am also sure they do not significantly reduce the amount of light in the boat. Various people have commented that the simplest way to 'curtain' them off, is to have soft cushions that just push into the roundals. This is a very sound idea as it gives the cushions two functions instead of one.

The doors in the boat are also as secure as we can make them. They are made of the same steel as the sides of the hull, the hinges are welded on and there are no windows. The design of locks are still to be decided but they will be as secure as possible without being OTT. This all suits me but if some future owner wants to insert windows, they still can.

I think just about everything else in the boat has been considered with safety and security in mind - not to mention our primary aims to keep is simple, to a high standard and with a traditional feel. For instance, the roof has been painted in red oxide - this will help to avoid it becoming slippery when wet. I have even put a couple of folding steps on the sides of the hull  to help me get on the roof when my knees start to buckle. Inside, the flooring, while it is a wood-effect laminate, it has a rough surface to minimise slipping. The kitchen worktop has been rounded to avoid sharp corners. A smoke and carbon monocide alarm is fitted along with all the standard fire extinguishers, fire blanket, life belt, etc. The electrical connectors between the batteries and fuses/switches have been upgraded. I have a comprehensive First Aid Kit and added useful medicines for the most likely ailments such as indigestion and headache. I have an emergency list of phone numbers in case the mobile phone fails or drops into the drink (river and/or beer). The standard of insulation and ventilation is good to maintain a good internal environment and to avoid condensation - I have even got a few discrete containers of cat litter to help de-humidify the air. I could go on to mention the need for an up to date safety certificate but you should get the picture.

So, you can see, with a little thought, safety and security can be built in without it compromising comfort or the look of the place or for it to become a problem of any sort.

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