Chapter 4: Emergency Preparation

Boat Fires

Fires are extremely dangerous and necessitate immediate action. Like all fires, boat fires need three things to start and continue to burn; heat, fuel, and oxygen.

These can all be found on most boats. For example, gasoline fumes quite often collect if not ventilated properly. These fumes are heavier than air and can be ignited by the spark from an ignition and create a fire.

If a fire starts while boating immediately stop the engine. This should always be the first step.

Try to position the boat so that the wind is flowing away from it. This minimizes any smoke inhalation and prevents the fire from spreading further. Try to remove the fuel source from the fire. This could be done by shutting off the gas to the engine or disconnecting the gas tank.

Locate and retrieve the fire extinguisher and use it to douse the flame, following these steps:

  1. Always aim at the base of the fire.
  2. Pull the pin and squeeze the two levers together to engage.
  3. Using a sweeping motion, spray back and forth.
Boat Fires

Keep using the extinguisher until the fire is completely out. Once the fire is out head back to shore quickly and safely. Use either a distress signal or marine radio to request assistance from other boaters. Refer back to the fire extinguisher regulations to ensure the boat has the equipment necessary to respond to a fire emergency.