Environmental Health officers rule heater a noise nuisance
By: Web Editor
WE have lived on our boat in Shireoaks Marina since September 2003 and originally had an Ebenspatchen heater which regularly broke down in the depths of winter and was noisy.
In January 2006 we replaced the unit with a Hurricane heater advertised specifically for boats, as the unit is quiet in operation and is highly recommended by Calcutt Boats who have fitted them to many boats in their marina without complaint.
In the summer of 2009 we changed moorings and the first we knew there was a problem was when we received a registered letter from the owner of a neighbouring boat in December 2010 demanding that we turn our heating off by 20 December 2010. Perhaps people can recall the temperatures this winter, regularly -14 degrees. We do not run the heater all night; we turn the thermostat to 0 degrees, the unit cuts in around -5 degrees. We also have a wood burning stove which we keep in at night with coal, also an oil-filled electric heater. At -14 degrees I need them all on.
I suffer from Raynaud’s Phenomenon which means that when I get cold my body shuts down. I also suffer from Fibromyalgia which is basically chronic pain and chronic fatigue. One of the symptoms is feeling extremely cold from the severe pain and the exhaustion causing me to be so cold that with all the heating on thick clothes, thermals and a blanket I still shake with cold. It would take very little for me to suffer from hypothermia. Living in a boat doesn't make any difference to my temperature, as it is the illness causing my problems.
On 10 February 2011 we had a letter from Bassetlaw Environmental Health to advise us they had received a Statutory Noise Complaint. On Thursday 3 March they came to listen to the alleged noise.
They came round to our boat to ask me to put the heating on and I explained how it worked. They asked if we would be prepared to move mooring. Then they went to listen outside and on the complainant’s boat. They came back and said it was a problem as you could hear it on his boat and they could order us to turn it off.
I explained we had been in touch with Calcutt Boats who were completely dumbfounded, but suggest we put an extra exhaust and silencer in to run tandem with the original. This would cost £200 which we were prepared to pay. However, EH said it probably wouldn't make any difference. They asked again if we would move moorings to which I agreed but explained that it was up to the British Waterways Moorings Officer. I gave them the relevant information as they said they would sort it out.
We would be grateful if other boaters using these heaters would send us their comments and let us know if they have any complaints from other boaters or had EH tell them to turn them off.
The repercussions for all boat users are endless.