Fire on a Boat: What You Need to Know and Do

Fire on a Boat: What You Need to Do and Know, Fire on a Boat: What You Need to Know and Do

Fire is one of the scariest situations you can face on a boat. Here are some considerations; some things to do or not do, and a few ideas. Feel free to comment below if you have any additions.

  • First, check your safety. Second, check the safety of your crew. Alert everyone. Third, assess boat. Fourth, scan around boat for assistance and or dangers
  • Find the source
  • Shut off engine, generator, anything sharing a space with the fire so you don’t bring more oxygen into the area
  • Turn part of boat that is on fire downwind so the fire doesn’t sweep across the boat, and so that the smoke blows away instead of blinding you and your crew
  • De-activate blowers so you don’t bring in more oxygen
  • Activate manually-deployed fire extinguisher system closest to you
  • Use fire blanket
  • Close it down; hatches doors, etc
  • Get ready to put on lifejackets
  • Call Mayday – you can always cancel the call
  • Do not open the hatches
  • Turn off propane supply
  • Throw burning material overboard if possible
  • Keep a door between you and the fire
  • If you must open a door, do it like in the movies; you behind the door, opening very slowly
  • Activate any other manually-deployed fire extinguisher system if you have one and it does not self-deploy
  • Be ready to abandon ship
  • Radio fast and first; fire burn wires and batteries, so you might not have a radio later
  • Wait 15 before open any spaces; they will still be hot; re-flash if reintroduce oxygen
  • Potentially prepare to leave boat and anchor. So many decisions; total loss?
  • Possibly drift to sandbar and get off.
  • If the fire is containable, possibly anchor so you don’t end up on damaging another boat
  • Back of hand on doors, engine room insulated can’t feel, reflash, have portable in hand
  • C02 is deadly; ventilate thoroughly, it sinks, so don’t crouch down, do cover your mouth
  • Halon sinks, but is ok to breathe in the 5-7% concentration used in engine room automatic extinguishing systems according to Chapman’s
  • Communication: if alone, activate DSC and/or EPIRB.
  • Communication: if needed, sound danger signal five short blasts on horn repeatedly to alert vessels in vicinity.
  • Communication: if needed, deploy flares.
  • Communication: warn nearby vessels by VHF or any necessary means to ensure their safety and give them time to evade.
Fire on a Boat: What You Need to Do and Know, Fire on a Boat: What You Need to Know and Do

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