Marine Fire Prevention Tips

burning ship on sea on fire

Marine Fire Prevention Tips 

Even though a boat is surrounded by water, that’s no protection against an on board fire. Whether you captain a yacht or working vessel, you can’t afford a fire to break out on your ship. Many marine experts say that once the flames take hold on the craft, it can be difficult to extinguish it. The flames soon become a blaze that destroys your boat. This is why fire prevention training is key. Signal Connect consulted fire safety experts to provide this list of safety essentials for boat captains.

Marine Fire Protection Standards

Fire prevention is preferable to firefighting because it stops the flames before they happen.  The key to fire prevention is making sure everyone on your boat has the proper safety training.  This training must include fire prevention and firefighting.  One popular training program is the International Convention on Standard of Training, Certification and Watch keeping (STCW).  It includes fire prevention and firefighting information.  The type of training that’s available to you will differ depending on where you and your boat is located.        

Fueling and Fire Hazards

When it comes to boats, fuel spillages are one of the biggest fire risks.  While this is the case, fires caused by fuel spills are easy to avoid when you follow these procedures recommended by the U.S. Coast Guard:

  1. Close hatches and openings before fueling.
  2. Extinguish all smoking materials.
  3. Turn off engines, electrical equipment, radios, stoves, and other appliances.
  4. Remove passengers.
  5. Keep the fill nozzle in contact with the tank.
  6. Wipe up spilled fuel.
  7. Open ports, hatches, and doors to ventilate when done.
  8. Run the blower for at least four minutes.
  9. Check the bilges for fuel vapors before starting engine.

After you’re done fueling up your boat, your vessel must pass the “smell test.” After you turn off the blowers, open your engine hatch or other bilge access. Do you smell any fuel? If so, don’t start your engine. Keep operating your blowers and open all bilge access ports until there’s no hint of fumes. It also helps to check your blower intake hose accumulated fuel vapors.

Electrical Problems and Boat Fires

Electrical problems are the second biggest cause of boat fires.  Want to know the cause of many of these electrical failures?  Do-it-yourself installations of equipment and wiring.  For example, many people use electrical tape for these installations, which is a mistake.   You need waterproof butt connectors or marine-rated electrical tape for these installations.  There are other details involved with proper marine electronics installations.  If you’re dedicated to fire prevention, you’ll have all electronics installations done by a professional installer with marine experience.

Boat Maintenance is Fire Prevention

Poor maintenance is the cause of most on board fuel and electrical fires. Don’t let this happen to you and your boat! Make regular checks to your fuel system and pay particular attention to the fuel lines. Replace any that show even the slightest signs of wear, cracks, or discoloration. Use stainless steel hose clamps to keep your lines secure and free of leaks. (Note: Make sure it’s not so tight that it cuts into the line.) Also, check for signs of corrosion, swelling, or bulging in your tank. These and other maintenance tips are a huge help to prevent a fire from starting on your boat.

Bonus Tip: DIRECTV for Luxury Vessels and Working Craft

Maintaining your boat to help prevent fires means you can enjoy your time on the water.  DIRECTV in your boat is something that helps you enjoy your time on the water.  Whether you have guests or a crew, everyone will enjoy DIRECTV on your boat.  Everyone on board gets to enjoy their favorite programming at the marina or up to 50 miles off shore.  If you can see that marine satellite TV is the thing for your craft, you’ve come to the right place.  Signal Connect is an AT&T Preferred Dealer that specializes in delivering DIRECTV for marine solutions.  To learn more about the benefits of marine satellite TV, give us a call at 866-726-4182.

*In our next installment, we’ll offer tips for fighting fires on boats.