Fuel fires aboard vessels spread rapidly and generate intense heat. Few people are able to combat them.
The answer is in preventing fires rather than fighting them. A number of fires or explosions can occur during or immediately after refuelling.
You can help avoid explosion and fires on boats by following a few common sense safety steps:
- Shut down engine, motors, fans and heating devices before refuelling
- Never smoke while refuelling
- Leave room for fuel expansion in the tanks and wipe up any spills
- Refuel portable fuel tanks on shore, not in the boat
- Check the bilge for leakages, fuel odour and ventilation
- Use only approved marine stoves
- Ensure the mast and rigging is well clear of power lines when using launching ramps, parking areas or sailing on rivers
- Install the recommended fire extinguisher 20BE Dry Chemical minimum size (on outboard and inboard power boats). If the vessel has a galley, a fire extinguisher and a fire blanket should be considered. Preferred location for the extinguisher is adjacent to the driver’s seat or adjacent to the exit.
- LP gas cylinders should be located in a well-ventilated space on deck
- LP gas valves should be turned off at the cylinder immediately after use and cylinders should be well secured
- In the event of fire, LPG cylinders should be removed from the heat source. If this is not possible, keep the cylinder cool by spraying water on it
- If flames are threatening to engulf a gas cylinder, the vessel should be evacuated
- In the event of a gas leak, close all cylinder valves and ventilate the vessel
- Do not operate any electrical switches until the air is clear as they may spark and ignite the gas
- Fit a gas alarm or a gas-detecting shut-off device if your vessel uses LP gas
- It is highly recommended you use a qualified gas fitter if installing LPG, updating or renovating the gas system on your boat.
This information was provided by Tasmania Fire Service