Thompsons Solicitors is highlighting the hidden danger of asbestos for the thousands of people who live in boats across the UK.

The call comes after Thompsons obtained compensation for an East London client who was diagnosed with mesothelioma, the fatal cancer of the lining of the lung, caused by exposure to asbestos while repairing narrow boats.

There is no cure for mesothelioma which is caused by exposure to asbestos. Many sufferers die within months of diagnosis.

The client, who worked as manager of a marina in East London, was diagnosed with mesothelioma in March 2008.

His job involved repair work on narrow boats at the marina. He recalls asbestos was present in around 70% of the boats he repaired.

Many boats built prior to 1985 used asbestos products

More than 15,000 people live in river and canal boats across the UK. Many boats built prior to 1985 used asbestos products as insulation in the heating systems, engine parts, pipe work and exhausts.

Andrew Venn from Thompsons Solicitors said: “Many people living in narrow boats may not realise asbestos is present. If the asbestos is in poor condition or is disturbed so that the fibres are inhaled the consequences can be fatal with conditions like mesothelioma developing decades later.”

The client added: “I knew asbestos was in the boats I was working on but I had no idea that it was dangerous. Decades later I am now facing a death sentence. I want to help prevent other people from coming into contact with asbestos so they don’t suffer the same fate as me.”

People now buying old boats as an affordable way of getting onto the housing market

Thompsons Solicitors highlights the risk to people who have bought an old boat as an affordable way of getting onto the housing market.

In areas in London, Bristol, Birmingham, Nottingham and Manchester this lifestyle is becoming ever more popular.

Andrew Venn said: “Many older boats are now being bought by young professionals as a cheaper alternative to bricks and mortar. They turn them into floating homes but they may not be aware of the dangers of asbestos likely to be present.”

The client, a grandfather of five, added: “I now know from painful experience that asbestos can kill. If someone had warned me about the dangers then perhaps this would not have happened to me.”

Thompsons Solicitors successfully concluded his claim for a undisclosed sum.