Avoid boat fires
How to prevent a fire on your boat
Unattended portable electric heaters are one of the top causes of boat fires in cooler months. Other causes include improper electrical wiring, incorrectly stored combustible products and galley fires.
What can you do to prevent a fire?
- Make sure all electrical cords are in good condition with no burn marks or visible wires at the connector.
- Use UL-approved cords.
- Inspect electrical and fuel systems for hazards.
- Never leave portable electric heaters on when you leave the boat.
- Discard rags containing oil, turpentine, paint or other combustible solutions in a metal can with a lid.
- Know the ins and outs of safely using your galley stove or grill. I keep a fire blanket handy in case my stove suddenly flares up and gets out of hand.
- Make sure fire extinguishers are accessible and meet U.S. Coast Guard requirements. Carry extra extinguishers, as you only get about 20 seconds of use from regular extinguishers.
- Put smoke detectors in every cabin and living space, and replace the batteries annually.
- Have an escape plan. Should the room fill with smoke, know the best way to get out safely, whether it be the companionway or a hatch. Be sure you know how to open the hatch.