Maintain your boat’s mechanical and electrical systems
As USPS members, we do our best to be safe on the water, but are we as vigilant about boat maintenance? Consider the following true story.
Two men looked forward to a day on the water. They left Florida’s Kennedy Point Park the morning of 4 June and headed north on the Intracoastal Waterway. Around 1300 they stopped for fuel at Titusville Municipal Marina.
One man tied up to the fuel dock and proceeded to fuel up. As required, he turned on the blowers to clear any fumes before starting the engines. The port engine started right up; the starboard engine did not. On the third attempt to start the starboard engine, the boat blew up.
Boaters along the dock ran to the stricken boat with their fire extinguishers. The two men were transported to the hospital.
The final report on the cause of the accident has not yet been filed, but maintenance issues are suspected.
Think about it: If your vent lines are clogged, running your blowers won’t accomplish much. This explosion demonstrates how important it is to properly maintain both your boat’s mechanical and electrical systems.
Even if you are diligent about maintenance, you can take other practical steps every time you fuel to ensure safety. After fueling an inboard engine with gasoline, running the blowers is not enough. Open the engine hatches and perform the sniff test. If you have trouble starting an engine, shut it down. Don’t assume all is well; check it out.
A well-maintained boat is every bit as important as having the proper number of life jackets on board. Take care of your boat, and it will reward you with a spectacular summer on the water.