While the chance of a fire on your boat may be small, you should still be prepared to handle a fire emergency. Your boat carries gasoline, so there is always the potential for fire. Depending on the type of boat you have, there could be many flammable items on board that fuel the flames of a fire, and some of them may release toxic fumes. You want to get a fire under control fast because you have no way to escape it but to jump into the water. Here's how to protect your boat against a fire.
Install Fire Extinguishers
The Coast Guard requires larger boats to have fire extinguishers on board, but even if they are not required for your small boat, it is still a good idea to have at least one. A class B extinguisher is a good choice for a boat fire since the fire will likely be started by gasoline. If a fire breaks out in trash from a cigarette or some other burning item, it can be put out with water which is in easy supply around your boat. However, water won't put out a gas fire. That's why you need a class B extinguisher. It contains foam or dry chemicals so it smothers the fire to remove the oxygen that fuels it.
When you install the extinguisher, be sure it is in a location where you can grab it quickly when the fire breaks out. Don't stow it out of sight or lock it in a cabinet because you'll lose valuable time getting your hands on it in an emergency. Also, make sure you understand how to use a fire extinguisher. Check the extinguisher at the start of the boating season to make sure it is fully charged and in proper working condition.
Be Careful When Fueling
If your boat has a cabin below the deck, you'll want to close the doors and windows when you add fuel to the boat. Gas fumes settle towards the bottom since they are heavier than air. The cabin could potentially collect gas fumes that then ignite when you create a spark. Don't smoke when fueling your boat or immediately after. Give the space time to air out before resuming your boating activities.
Avoid DIY Electrical Repairs
Electrical problems can also cause fires on your boat. For that reason, you only want to have repairs and installations done by a professional. You may not be able to use common DIY methods in a marine setting and doing so could put your boat at risk of fire. The fire could start in the electrical component or the component could spark and ignite a gas fire.
Keep Clutter Under Control
If you have a cabin in your boat that you use for cooking and sleeping, you'll want to keep it tidy and avoid collecting trash. Trash acts as fuel for a fire, so keep fire safety in mind when you stow your belongings and create trash as you live on your boat. Don't pack more than you need and get rid of trash every time you dock or refuel.
Even if you're careful, fires can break out due to equipment failure. That's why it is important to carry marine fire extinguishers on board that are rated to put out gas fires. While you may never need to use it, having one could save your life and your boat in an emergency. Contact a service, like Tri County Fire Protection, for more help.Share
23 November 2017
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