Boating may leave you feeling relaxed and carefree, but preparing for a safe voyage is nothing to be laid back about. One emergency you should always be prepared for is a boat fire. Here are a few tips on how to handle a fire on your boat when you’re out in the water.
Step 1: Turn Away From the Wind
The first step of controlling a fire on your boat is to strategically position the boat so that the wind does not cause it to spread across the deck. Doing this will buy you some time while you are either evacuating the boat or putting out the fire.
Step 2: Turn Off the Engine
Next, make sure the boat’s engine is turned off. A running engine may actually exacerbate the fire and trigger an explosion, which can be disastrous for everyone on board. Turning the engine off may minimize the risk of the fire spreading to the engine or gas tank, and also reduces the risk of the boat moving towards other boats, the marina, or land.
Step 3: Extinguish the Fire
Every boat should have an ABC tri-class, Coast Guard approved fire extinguisher on board. These fire extinguishers are designed to put out fires from combustible materials, flammable liquids, and electrical fires, all of which are possible on your boat. Use your fire extinguisher to spray the base of fire, smothering it at the deck.
Step 4: Call For Help
While someone performs the steps above, make sure that someone on your boat is calling for help. Using your radio or cell phone, contact 911, the Coast Guard, or the marina to inform them of the fire. If your fire cannot be extinguished within two minutes of it starting, abandon the ship right away—by this time, the fire is likely too strong to put out with a fire extinguisher.
For help making sure that your boat is safe and ready for the water, come to Moose Landing Marina on Route 302 in Naples. We specialize in boat repairs and services that can keep fires and other boating emergencies at bay. Call (207) 693-6264 for information on our boat services, rentals, sales, and more.