Severn Swan

Safety and Security

Fire Protection


There are ample extinguishers as follows:

o In aft lockers further large foam and CO2 extinguishers.

o Titan double acting diaphragm pump with fire nozzle to pump seawater.

Smoke alarms are situated in each forward cabin and between the pilot house and aft cabin.


See also “Gas system.” in the “Electrical, Water & Other Systems” section

Flood Protection and Bilge Pump System


The anchor locker is inherently a water tight zone at all times. The aft cabin becomes water tight when the door is closed and clamped.  The wet locker can have a major leak as long as its damboard is in place. These have been tested by filling these areas with water to a level above the waterline whilst we were in the process of renovating.


Wherever possible, panels have been made easily removable to allow access to the hull in case of collision.  For example, in the front heads there are removable panels just aft of the watertight bulkhead, beneath the handbasin cupboards and behind the toilet.  

Seacocks have been arranged so as to be minimum in number, readily accessible and mostly situated in safe (watertight) zones so that should there be a failure it would be contained.


There are only five seacocks below water level. The two seacocks for the forward heads are in the anchor locker. The two for the aft heads are in the wet locker along with the grey water discharge. All bilge pumps discharge well above water level. Only the engine intake is in a non-watertight area but this is readily accessible. Water would drain into the engine room which has a high volume bilge pump.  There are a range of wooden bungs hanging close by the seacocks in the wet locker and the anchor locker in case of emergency.


Because she is a ferro boat her bilges are completely dry which makes for comfortable living aboard. The only areas that tend to occasionally get wet are the anchor locker, with water running of the wet chain as it comes on board and the contained area below the stuffing box.   Both of these areas are served by high-level diaphragm pumps which are controlled by a level switch and have time- delayed running to ensure that all but the last drop is pumped out.


All the bilge pumps can be operated on auto or manually from the 12v panel in the pilot house.


The forward cabins and the engine room have Rule 2000 automatic bilge pumps. The engine room (the lowest point in the boat) also has a manual diaphragm pump operated from the pilot house.

If a serious leak situation occurred there is a high capacity 240V submersible pump with sufficient pipe attached to drop it into the bilge and pump water overboard through a hatch.  If there was insufficient or no power then the large capacity manual Titan double acting diaphragm pump situated on the aft deck can be used.


There are bilge alarms covering the anchor locker, forward cabins, engine room (includes saloon and pilot house) and aft cabins.

The companion way has a very robust door.  In addition it can take wash boards if there is a risk that waves could break into the cockpit (which would be very rare on this boat with its well protected cockpit).  

The windows and port lights are all ocean standard. Those in the pilot house are Seaglaze as used by the RNLI.  In the unlikely event of failure there are emergency plywood window covers stored in the large starboard locker in the aft cabin (with the wash boards). These fit outside the broken window and have a wooden bar for the inside and a long bolt and wing nut to clamp the two together sealing the hole.  They can be fitted from the inside.

Sailing Safety


Liferaft.  (New in 2014). Ocean Safety 6 man with an extra ocean pack built in.  This is situated on the aft deck. An ocean flare set in its waterproof container and the grab bag containing survival suits, inflatable radar reflector and other equipment is situated in a locker adjacent to the liferaft.  The EPIRB (see radio equipment) is located near the companionway.  The handheld VHF is in the pilot house.


Severn Swan is equipped with a Jordan Drogue (costing around £1000) which is rated as the ultimate piece of ocean survival equipment designed to deal with a Fastnet 79 situation and has proven itself to be able to keep a boat safe in the most extreme conditions.  We are very pleased to be able to pass it on to the new owners in mint, unused condition!


Lifelines.  While Severn Swan is very safe with its central enclosed cockpit, wide walkways, high solid handrails and unobstructed deck, lifelines remain essential kit.  One can clip on before stepping out of the pilothouse into the cockpit and then transfer to secure points on either around the cockpit and at the helm position.  There is a line running right around the aft deck that you can clip on to before you leave the cockpit.  Whilst lifelines on most boats run along the side deck and it is still possible to fall overboard, this is not possible on Severn Swan as the lifelines run down the centre of the boat with running lines/carabiners already set up on them.   You can transfer to one of the running lines as you leave the cockpit so that it is not possible to go over the side as you make your way to the foremast. Once on deck you can use your own tether to clip to the next central line to take you to the bow.  The bowsprit is set up in the same manner as a square rigger yard arm with a foot line to walk upon, a safety line to clip to and the bowsprit is at waist height with the lateral chain pressing comfortingly against your back.

Lifebuoys: On each side of the boat there is a lifebuoy with lights and drogues in a bracket ready to deploy. The port one also has a danbuoy.


We have a quick release throwing line in the cockpit.


MOB retrieval:  If the MOB is conscious we have a sit-on T bar which can be attached to a halyard on the foremast that he/she can sit on and be lifted out by one person using the foremast winch.  If unconscious the mooring buoy retrieval hook can be clipped to the same halyard to for winching aboard.  NB you can get back on board from the water unaided by climbing up either the bobstay or boomkin chains.  We also have a folding ladder stored in the cockpit that can be deployed over the side.

Run aground:  A brass ships bell, which is stored on a bracket in the saloon (where we use it as a dinner gong), can be clipped into a bracket in the cockpit.


Storm jib: -fits to the fore staysail boom.


Mast climbing.  A bosun’s chair is included which can be raised by manual winch or the windlass.   There is also a Mastmate heavy webbing ladder which coils into a bag and enables you to climb unaided or, at least, just tailed by your assistant on deck.  This is very useful if the climber is heavier than the assistant and, used in conjunction with the bosun’s, chair provides greater security and comfort especially if you have a long job to do up there.


Theft security


Security bars are fitted below all the deck hatches.  These are easy to open for escape purposes.


All of the 5 large cockpit storage lockers and the 3 aft deck lockers (including the gas locker) are lockable with a single action which saves a lot of time when leaving the boat.


The companion way door is very strong and secure (see “Pilot House & Cockpit”)


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