How to prevent fires on boats

boat firesAnyone who’s spent time on a boat knows that fire poses a very real threat. Fires spread quickly in enclosed spaces and can easily get out of control. To make matters worse boats tend to be built of flammable materials and often have highly combustible fuel on board. The following steps are designed to prevent fires from catching and ensure the safety of boat and crew:

  • Have a clearly defined emergency plan so that everybody on board knows exactly what to do in the event of fire; it could save lives.
  • Fit a recommended smoke alarm and make sure that it is tested regularly; especially if you haven’t been on the boat for some time.
  • Never leave naked flames unattended when cooking even if you’re just quickly popping up on deck. Either switch off the gas or ask another crew member to keep an eye on things.
  • Be careful when cooking with hot oil as it ignites easily and is the single biggest cause of domestic kitchen fires.
  • Galley life becomes even more challenging when the wind begins to blow and, even with a swinging stove, pans can slide as the boat begins to heel and roll.
  • Use a proprietary sparking electric lighter to safely light the oven or hob.
  • Always close the gas cylinder valve when you have finished cooking. If you are reluctant to close gas valves after cooking for practical reasons make sure they are closed before you go to bed.
  • Never use portable gas cookers (such as camping stoves) on board and never use a BBQ on deck.
  • Keep the galley well ventilated when cooking to prevent the toxic build-up of carbon monoxide.
  • Make sure that all gas appliances are professionally installed and regularly checked and maintained.
  • Secure gas cylinders so they won’t move when the weather gets choppy and regularly check fuel lines to make sure they haven’t perished.
  • Burning candles and smoking cigarettes carry obvious fire hazards and should be saved for dry land.
  • Make sure fire extinguishers and fire blankets are tested and maintained and you know how to use them.
  • Fire extinguishers and blankets should be located within easy reach of potential fire hazards (such as the galley and engine room) and close to escape routes.
  • Make sure the engine is regularly maintained checking fuel hoses for signs of wear and tear.
  • Take extra care when refuelling and ensure that any spills are cleaned up immediately.
  • Only use electrical equipment that conforms to British or European safety standards and don’t overload adaptors.

While boat insurance won’t stop accidents from happening; it does provide a valuable financial safety net. Quoteline Direct can provide competitive cover for all types of boat from inland pleasure craft to seafaring yachts. To find out more visit our boat insurance page or Tel:  0161 874 7783 to speak with a member of our team.


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