Yachting and motor boating are usually fun and relaxing activities, but even the most experienced sailors should ensure their boat is safe from fire. Whilst a fire is unlikely on a boat that is well maintained, it’s still important to have safety equipment in place and to follow the industry recommended guidelines to ensure you, your crew and other travellers are safe.
On a boat of any size, you should only consider using extinguishers to extinguish a small fire, or to aid a safe escape past flames.
Powered boats, or those with cooking, heating, refrigerating or lighting appliances must be equipped with the minimum number of portable fire extinguishers (see details here).
The recommended types of fire extinguishers for boats are dry powder or foam extinguishers. (Though you should be prepared for a dry powder extinguisher to create a dense powder-cloud, reducing visibility and impairing breathing which could jeopardise your escape).
That’s why it’s so important to familiarise yourself with how to use any extinguishers on board and these, along with fire blankets should be kept within easy reach and close to exits and risk points, such as the galley and engine area.
You should also:
Fire blankets are also ideal for use on boats as they are effective and easy to store and use. These too should be located nearer to danger points as mentioned above.
Everyone on board a boat should know what to do should fire break out. Boat owners should understand the risk of using portable gas camping stoves, lamps and heaters on because of the danger from explosion, fire and carbon monoxide poisoning.
Explains Victoria Hartson, Managing Director at Hartson Fire, “When the liquefied fuel in a canister escapes it re-forms as a gas and its volume expands 250 times, so even portable gas equipment can cause a powerful explosion, easily big enough to send people to hospital and wreck a boat. Out in the open, an explosion, fire, or carbon monoxide escape, can be bad enough, but in the poorly ventilated, tight confines of a boat, the same event can be devastating.
“If yours is a small boat with no kitchen area, then taking a flask is the simplest and safest way to provide hot drinks on a day trip. If you need light, then the latest battery powered or wind-up LED lights will last for ages are far safer and easier to use than gas lanterns.”
Hartson fire is an established, family-run business which has been providing fire safety equipment and servicing to businesses across South Wales for a number of years. On our website, you will find a section entitled ‘What do I need’ which gives information about the different types of extinguishers and other equipment which are required for different businesses and industry sectors.