Hundreds of boat fires ignite each year, causing panic among passengers due to the vigorous burning of fiberglass, exploding fuel tanks and other outcomes of such an event. Let’s take a look at what commonly causes boat fires and how to prevent them.
Fueling, Fuel Tanks and Fuel Lines
We all know that gasoline is highly flammable, but a bit of precaution goes a long way toward preventing a fire outbreak. Before fueling, extinguish any smoking materials and ask passengers to step off the boat. While fueling, close the hatches, turn off the engine and electrical equipment, keep the fill nozzle in contact with the tank and clean up any accidental spills immediately. After fueling, open the hatches to ventilate, run the blower for a few minutes and check the bilges for fuel vapors before running the engine.
Regularly inspect your fuel system for issues. Replace any lines that are cracked or discolored. If your fuel tank is metal, check for corrosion. If it’s plastic, check for bulging or discoloration. It’s better to be safe than sorry, so have a professional attend to any areas that you’re unsure about.
Regularly inspect your electrical system for signs of corrosion, cracks, discoloration or otherwise compromised wiring. Minor corrosion at the connections can often be scrubbed off with a pencil eraser or nail file. However, corrosion can also indicate overheating or poor connections, and it may require some professional electrical work.
Additionally, never leave electrical equipment running unattended. This is especially true of portable heaters when the weather gets cooler.
Fire Safety Equipment
Ensure that your boat contains the number, size and type of fire extinguishers that the Coast Guard recommends for your boat’s size. Learn how to properly use the extinguishers, regularly inspect them and replace as needed. It’s a good idea to keep them near exists so if you have to reach for one, you’re closer to being able to evacuate the vessel.
For extra protection, apply a fire retardant to the upholstery on your boat. Those few extra minutes it takes to engulf the boat in flames could be the difference between your escape and your death.
Ask us how to protect your vessel while enjoying the open water. Call Casey Insurance Group at 888-537-1412 for more information on Florida boat insurance.