There is still a possibility of catastrophic fire emergencies while boating, although boats are surrounded by water. Boat operators must ensure that they are prepared for a fire emergency by installing the appropriate fire safety equipment on board, taking precautions to prevent fire hazards, and being able to deal with the fire quickly and effectively if it happens.
Three major factors contribute to catastrophic fires while boating. These factors include the galley, a malfunctioning engine, and insufficient ventilation of an enclosed engine compartment.
It is possible that a spare diesel may be carried for the main engine or that cleaning chemicals may be present. Flammable liquids should be stored in a well-ventilated area so that fires caused by these liquids can be prevented. Also, make sure their seals are appropriately secured.
Since fire emergencies are inevitable on the boat despite being surrounded by water, boat operators should have fire safety equipment onboard, take measures to prevent fire hazards, and be prepared to deal with fires quickly and efficiently.
Being adequately prepared for an emergency can lessen the severity of a fire or explosion on your boat. Take the following guidelines to prepare:
Fire suppression begins with understanding the fire triangle, which contains the three elements necessary to maintain a fire. This fire triangle includes heat, fuel, and oxygen. As all three components are necessary to ignite a fire, removing one of these will result in the fire being put out.
Boat operators must use the most appropriate extinguishing device to extinguish a fire. A fire can be suppressed quickly by using this device and will not cause any damage to passengers or the vessel.
It was mentioned in Section 2 of this course that personal watercraft and boats must be equipped with US Coast Guard-approved, marine-type fire extinguishers.
The following types of fire extinguishers can be used for putting out different kinds of fires:
Under US Coast Guard regulations, Class B-5 or B-20 extinguishers must be carried on board and equipped with mounting brackets. For marine use, any fire extinguisher selected by the operator must be certified and labeled by the US Coast Guard.
Whenever your boat is on fire, you should follow the P.A.S.S. method:
IMPORTANT: Operators should check all onboard extinguishers for the correct operating pressure before departing shore and ensure that all passengers know how to use them correctly and safely.
Fueling boats safely is essential to avoid creating a fire hazard and damaging the environment.
For the purpose of avoiding a fire hazard, the following guidelines should be followed:
Gas vapors and leaks of propane or butane are heavier than oxygen and will quickly flow into the bottom of a vessel. There is a high level of explosive potential in these vapors.
On a watercraft, portable fuel-burning equipment or appliances should only be used in an open area or on an open deck that is well-ventilated and well secured to prevent movement. It is advisable to store fuel-burning appliances that are not in use in a well-ventilated area with no sources of heat or ignition. Most importantly, on board, all appliances consuming fuel should be designed specifically for marine use, and open flames or cooking systems should always be supervised.
An engine that uses gasoline or propane must be equipped with ignition-protected electrical devices. As a result, these components are designed so that they will not ignite the vapors of gasoline or propane. During use, this type of protection prevents sparks from forming. The boater should consult a certified marine technician if they are unsure whether their boat is equipped with the appropriate ignition protection devices.