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Steam Boat Ban

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ChrisH26/04/2011 22:01:59
1018 forum posts
30 photos
Just read that New Brighton council have banned model steam boats on the New Brighton boating lake, in case the boiler explodes and injures someone - blame elf 'n safety. Again.
The fact that the lake has been operational for about 80 years, and there are no recorded injuries, ever, is neither here nor there. There's a elf 'n safety jobsworth in there somewhere, justifying his/her existence without a clue about what they are about..
The country has gone completely bonkers.............
John Stevenson26/04/2011 22:03:41
5068 forum posts
3 photos
In that case they had better take all the central heating out of council offices in case the boiler blows up.............................
John S.
IanT27/04/2011 10:05:50
1989 forum posts
212 photos
Well Chris, (for a change) I have some sympathy for the Council.
Are these live steam boat owners operating high pressure boilers? If so are they subject to some form of regular boiler testing regime? Do they have appropriate public liability insurance? Do they operate a code of practice designed to protect members of the public from them (and vice versa).
These are all matters that every Model Engineering Club or Society has to consider and take suitable measures to address. Even at private GTGs - our Hosts allow no one to steam any engine without the production of a valid boiler certificate.
If they haven't already done so - I'd suggest the local boating enthusiasts form a Club and organise the neccessary boiler testing and get themselves insured appropriately - and then they might find the local council more receptive.
Ian T
Keith Long27/04/2011 10:15:43
877 forum posts
11 photos

I believe that it was the local boat club that got the council to introduce the ban - also covers IC engine powered boats as well. All on the basis of "danger" to children - they might blow up! If you have a search for news items about this and on other forums as well it looks as though there is a LOT of background politics involved - as well as private agendas being followed I suspect.


Ian S C27/04/2011 14:04:20
7468 forum posts
230 photos
Oh well i'm Ok, my boat's just been converted from steam to hot air, the only thing anyone will suffer from is bordom, its sloooow, and it goes for as long as it has fuel, usually 1/2 an hour at a time. I suppose its time for takeover by electric power, a nephew found that out when he went to Austrailia, he could not run his hydroplane, with it 15 cc glowplug motor any where near Brisbane, it was the same rule for flying. Ian S C
DMB27/04/2011 14:05:38
1300 forum posts
1 photos
`Metro` newspaper today, page 17, is a photo of a dejected Nick Clark apparently seated at a table with his little steamboat on a typical model boat stand. In length, it looks about 3" longer than the width of his shoulders with a very small vertical boiler. He is quoted as saying top speed is 3 knots.High pressure boilers, IanT? Idont think so.
Good solution seems to be to start a campaign to remove central heating boilers from all council offices!
Ian Abbott27/04/2011 17:27:43
279 forum posts
21 photos
I'd get a few friends together and launch as many steam boat onto the lake, then wait for the council h&s officer to try to get them out without burning his fingers..... Then again, he may consider it unsafe for him/her to enter the lake without backup from the coast guard, so I'd say you're safe. Remember the bloke lying face down in a two foot deep pond, with the ambulance et al standing on the bank, refusing to get him.
Sorry IanT, but this hobby doesn't need people like you helping to mess it up. There are enough self important dunderheads out there already.
JasonB27/04/2011 18:44:09
22602 forum posts
2643 photos
1 articles
I would have thought most of these small steam boat boilers come under the bar/lts rule so don't need any form of certification. Maybe thats why they want to ban them as if they are uncertified and untested there could be risks and the owners are unlikely to have insurance.

Edited By JasonB on 27/04/2011 18:44:33

John Olsen27/04/2011 20:08:26
1241 forum posts
94 photos
1 articles
No, the reason that there is a bar/ltrs rule is that boilers below that size are not in fact dangerous and therefore don't need testing. So the legislature has in fact already determined that there is no real risk.
The aerosol cans in your house contain combustible gas, under a higher pressure than small boilers run, in a container so thin that you could push a nail through it with your bare hands. They don't seem to come with test certificates or safety valves
So far as I have ever been able to find out, history records one explosion of a boiler in a model boat, a somewhat larger model than described above. As a result, the boat sank, but there was no injury to bystanders. See if you can find the Model Engineer where the mishap was described!
However, as Barnum said, there is one born every minute...but how do so many of them manage to get into politics?
c27/04/2011 22:46:53
44 forum posts
1 photos
See if you can find the Model Engineer where the mishap was described!
Try Model Engineer Volume 75 page 239.

Richard Parsons28/04/2011 08:08:07
645 forum posts
33 photos

The key to the real intention are in the words “The fact that the lake has been operational for about 80 years,”. The lake is ‘old hat’ and the council want to do something else with the space it occupies. However it was probably ‘dedicated’ under one of the ‘Charities Acts’ and the council have to keep it as a boating pool (unless no one uses it).

I had a look round New Brighton with Google Earth and I think I have found it. It is empty to stop Drunks and Junkies from drowning in it (saves on insurance) but next it must be filled in so that other folk will not fall into it and hurt themselves. But the land it occupies is also valuable it could be used to build really useful like a new rehabilitation centre for crippled penguins and disorientated condors.

Ian S C28/04/2011 13:13:07
7468 forum posts
230 photos
Or a Model Engineering club, They might dig a bit out and form a boating lake. Ian S C
Steve Withnell28/04/2011 22:26:39
843 forum posts
222 photos
In the article, they claimed they had introduced the ban on recommendation of the model boat club. Be interested to hear the view of the model boat club first hand.

John Olsen29/04/2011 08:30:20
1241 forum posts
94 photos
1 articles
i'd be interested to know how the boat club members power their boats. If they are electric they are probably using Lithium cells that have a habit of catching fire and exploding...we just had a fatality a week or so back in NZ from a laptop fire. If they are powered by infernal combustion then the fuel is highly combustible as well as carcinogenic and also attractive to solvent abusers. According to what I just saw at the local model shop, even the plastic tanks contain substances "that are known to the State of California to be carcinogenic". I suppose if the boats are powered by the wind they are relatively harmless, so long as they don't use any lead in the keel, although we have just seen that the wind itself is not so harmless.
c, you have too much time on your hands! It was indeed quite some time ago, and if I recall correctly, the boiler was not one that would have passed any reasonable visual check, let alone a pressure test.
Ian S C29/04/2011 10:46:53
7468 forum posts
230 photos
How about Pop Pop boats? I had quite a big one that I sailed on the lake a the the recreation center, The lake is about 100 M x 40 M, it was good, no propeler to get caught in the weeds, it later got converted to steam, with a 3 X 6 mm wobbler, the boiler was suported by the steam pipe to the engine, and last time it sailed I left it a bit long before bringing it in, the boiler ran dry, the solder on the steam pipe melted, boiler fell off, nothing. I'm staying with hot air, although most visitors have electric power, ranging from battery drills, windscreen wiper motors, and motors designed for model boats. I'll have to wait until October for the regatta and see what turns up. Ian S C
IanT29/04/2011 15:54:51
1989 forum posts
212 photos
Well I can see I'm in a minority of one here and I will admit to not knowing what kind of live steam boats are in use - or what kind (or size) of boilers they might be fitted with.
But even a "Dunnderhead" (like myself) knows a little about the expansive qualities of steam - enough not to compare a live steam boiler to a central heating boiler for instance - or an aerosol can (although I would suggest you don't throw one on a fire!).
As to small boilers (& not needing testing or insurance) I think we may be confusing the need for new boilers (under 2 litres) not to be CE stamped although smaller new boilers still need to be built to "Sound Engineering Principles" (SEP) - and of course none of this applies to a boiler built by a hobbyist for their own use - which to my mind makes some form of regular (independent) inspection regime even more important..
But even a small "low-presure" boiler can be potentially dangerous if (say) the safety valve is stuck and I most certainly wouldn't want my hand near one (or a childs) if this were the case. Couple that to the existance of ambulance chasing lawyers in this country these days and I feel caution is a sensible approach in these matters.
This is just my view - and you are (of course) more than welcome to yours.
Ian T
Steve Withnell29/04/2011 16:29:08
843 forum posts
222 photos
There is a clip on Youtube of a small Mamod style boiler exploding with a number of people in close proximity. Result - scared witless, no first aid needed. Supervise children properly, but don't stop them experiencing life. Don't ban highly competent model engineers from demonstrating and enjoying the use of small steam boilers or insist on cost prohibitive testing and insurance.
Is there a material track record of small (ie <1L) steam boilers maiming people in public places? If there is then fair enough, but I do not believe that's the case.
If these things are banned then you better ban italian coffee makers too as they are a much greater risk than a little low pressure boiler. If the safety valve stick on one of those things sticks, then you don't want to be in the room.
Just my opinion
Dusty29/04/2011 16:36:05
489 forum posts
9 photos
Please, please, please do not suggest that all our boilers should have an independant (by which I think you mean professional) inspection. It took many hours of negotiation by the M.E. federations to convince the H.S.E that we have a robust inspection facility within our clubs and boilers are tested according to the appropriate federations minimum requirements before a test certificate is issued. These certificates are not open ended but require re-testing at laid down periods. If a re-test is missed it invalidates the certificate and that boiler/locomotive/traction engine cannot be used.
The boiler must be inspected by the Club boiler inspector during construction.
It is on completion hydraulicly tested to twice designed working pressure, it then undergoes a steam test to ensure safety valves etc work properly, then and only then is the certificate issued.
The steam test is repeated anually and the hydraulic test every four years.
This is acceptable to both H.S.E. and Insurance Co's. But it appears not to you!
You are not a boiler inspector are you?
Colin Jacobs 129/04/2011 17:42:31
69 forum posts
2 photos
What a load of boolocks. This country and the H&S mn have ruined many a hooby with very little evidence of accidents but lots of IF's
I am in the stationary engine movement and we are always sent to the bottom of the field.
Its not us it s the kids with their parents who think its ok to put their foots through the rope and hold their shoes against the flywheel.
c29/04/2011 17:48:16
44 forum posts
1 photos
c, you have too much time on your hands!
John, I am sorry, I thought you wanted to know. It did not take long to find using the Model Engineer index.

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