Fire Safety on Board
Fire can spread quickly on a boat, on and off the water.
- Alarms and detectors can save lives.
- Always test the alarm when you’re on board.
- Fit them in places where you will hear them if they go off.
- Fit a co detector for any carbon monoxide that may be present.
- Always check and maintain your boats fuel, gas and electrical systems.
- Check the bilges for oil or debris build up.
- Check exhausts systems of inboard engines for leaks.
- Leaks, spills and vapour can ignite easily so clean them up and make sure filler caps are secure.
- Check your handheld VHF is charged up along with a torch.
- Have enough lifejackets and wear them. They are useless unless they’re worn.
- Know how to make a mayday call and to check for landmarks so that you can give your position to the coastguard.
- Always check to make sure gas cylinders are secure after you have changed them.
- Make sure the airflow is not restricted by blocking air vents or air gaps.
- Always turn gas valves off before going to bed or leaving the boat.
- Store the gas cylinders in a self draining locker, keeping them upright.
- Get your local gas engineer to check for cracking, brittleness or discolouration.
- Before setting out make sure your crew know how to close emergency valves and switches in case of fire.
What do I do if there is a fire on board
- Make a mayday call as soon as possible.
- Do not enter a smoke filled space.
- If you are in the smoke, keep low down where the air is clearer.
- Starve the fire of air; don’t open engine hatches or doors unless you have to.
- Get everyone away from the fire and get their lifejackets fitted.
- Take a handheld VHF radio on deck with you and call for help.
- Only tackle a fire if you are confident and know how to do it safely.
- Keep fire blankets and extinguishers within easy reach. E.g. near the galley and/or the engine.
- Always check fire extinguishers regularly for leaks and loss of pressure, along with expiry dates.
- Check the pin and firing mechanism on fire extinguishers for any signs of problems and weaknesses.