Family asleep on boat as blaze starts

Coastguards have warned people not to set off emergency flares during firework celebrations after a yacht was hit while a family slept inside.The parachute flare landed on Tim and Judy Atkinson’s boat in Southampton while they were asleep below with their five-year-old daughter Sophie.

A fellow sailor extinguished the blaze which started in the cockpit near some gas canisters. It caused £1,000 worth of damage.

About 20 flares were reported in marinas in Southampton and Portsmouth on Saturday night, and dozens more between Portsmouth and Brighton.

See Yachting Monthly December issue for our special flare test and exclusive news report on the future of flare disposal.