Relaxing while sailing on a boat is something that many people are trying to do. But the problem is that most people don’t think about all the safety measures while sailing on a boat. If you’re one of them, it’s time to learn more about the biggest problem while sailing on a boat: fire.
A boat catches fire is actually more common than you think. The number one cause of fire on a boat is fuel leaks. And the danger comes when people are panicking on top of the boat, rocking it, and fall down either on the water or on the boat.
The best and easiest solution is by owning a fire extinguisher, which can be used when the fire starts. So now we’ve come to the biggest questions of this article: where should we store a fire extinguisher on a boat?
Many experts recommend storing your fire extinguishers mounted and in an upright position wherever you think is the most accessible for you and anyone else on the boat.
You can store one fire extinguisher in places like the hull, cabin, bilge, and kitchen. Basically, places where your equipment are stored, and people are concentrated in. Any places with high traffic and high-risk of fire should be equipped with at least one fire extinguisher.
The number of fire extinguisher you’re going to need depends on a few aspects of the boat. To make it easier for you, let’s talk a look at these important questions:
- Where do people gather while on the boat?
- Where are flammable liquids such as gasoline for example, stored on the boat?
- How often is the boat cleaned from debris and other garbage?
- Where is the gas tank located?
- Where is the kitchen and is it cleaned regularly?
By answering these questions, you should gain a better understanding about some factors that may cause fire on the boat. Always place one fire extinguisher near flammable liquid and gas. Every danger zone must be covered and every fire extinguisher is easily accessible.
Another mistake that many people make is storing their fire extinguishers horizontally. Doing this will make the chemical powder inside the container become compacted at the base. The longer your fire extinguisher is stored this way, the longer it will take you to discharge the extinguishing agent inside.
Minimum requirements for safety purposes
Depending on the size of your boat, your might need more than a few fire extinguishers. If your boat is smaller than 26 feet, you should at least one B-1 fire extinguisher ready. For a boat bigger than 26 – 40 feet, you will need at least two B-1 fire extinguishers. Also, if your boat has a fire extinguishers system installed and approved by the U.S. Coast Guard, you may use fewer fire extinguishers.
If you want to be truly safe while sailing on your boat, you should have a tri-class fire extinguisher onboard. These fire extinguishers use monoammonium phosphate, a dry and non-toxic chemical agent that stops the fire’s chemical reaction and stops reigniting in class A, B, or C fires. It is recommended to have at least two of these tri-class fire extinguishers.
How to use your fire extinguisher
Learning how to use your fire extinguisher is as important as knowing how to store it. You must always be prepared whenever fire starts and not panic. The right person holding a fire extinguisher could be the hero who saves people and the boat from fire.
- The trick to remember how to use a fire extinguisher is P.A.S.S, which is:
- Pull the pin the extinguisher
- Aim the nozzle at the bottom from a secure distance
- Squeeze the operating level to shoot the extinguishing liquid
- Sweep the nozzle from one side to another to provide a full coverage until the fire stops completely
Now that you’re aware of all the safety precautions regarding fire on a boat, you need to start taking action right now. Take a full check of your boat and determine how many fire extinguishers you’re going to need and where to store them. Remember that you can always use at least two tri-class extinguishers to be complete safe from fire.