During National Fire Prevention Week, October 6-12, 2013; public awareness is brought to fire safety and prevention. You take steps to ensure your home is fireproof; but about your boat? Do you take precautionary steps to fireproof your boat? We bet you do. But as a reminder, here are some important steps you should follow in order to prevent boat fires.
Make sure to inspect your boat's fire safety equipment:
- Ensure you have the proper size and type of marine fire extinguisher(s) for your boat.
- Make sure your extinguisher(s) are not out of date.
- Have your fire extinguisher(s) easily accessible so you can get to them quickly in an emergency.
Most boat fires are caused by fueling or electrical issues; avoid them by:
- Before fueling, get passengers off the boat and shut off all flames. Close all windows, doors and openings to prevent fumes from entering the boat.
- While you fuel, keep the nozzle in contact with the tank to prevent sparks. Don't overfill the tank. Wipe up any spills and properly dispose of the rags.
- After fueling, open all the windows, doors and openings on the boat and run the exhaust blower for four minutes.
- Prevent electrical problems by inspecting the electrical connections in your boat frequently; and also inspect any shore power connection lines before plugging them into your boat.
If a fire should break out on your boat:
- Have everyone put on a life jacket.
- If possible, position the boat so that the fire is downwind. Turn off the engine and any other electrical equipment.
- Never use water on a gasoline, oil, grease or electrical fire.
- Use the PASS method for operating a fire extinguisher:
- Pull pin
- Aim at the base of the fire
- Squeeze handle
- Sweep from side to side
- Use your VHF radio and/or cell phone to call for help.