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Boating fire safety


Fire on board any vessel has the potential to be very dangerous due to the isolation from land and the volatility of on board fuels, ie: petrol, gas etc. Operators of all boats should have the necessary safety equipment installed and know how to use it in an emergency. Taking simple precautions can help prevent a fire and make your boating safer

Tips for safe boating

Fire services recommend this simple safety checklist to assist in keeping your boating safe

  • Make sure you know and understand your boat and its capabilities
  • Install a smoke alarm close to the sleeping area and away from fumes, as well as having a fire extinguisher near an exit or near the controls and a fire blanket close to galley areas
  • Develop a fire escape plan that considers all occupants on board whether at sea or moored
  • Ensure adequate ventilation of all areas particularly when the motor is running. Isolate all ignition sources whilst re-fuelling including allowing motors to cool down
  • Regularly inspect all fuel lines and the exhaust system for leakages
  • Store LPG cylinders in well ventilated areas and turn them off at the cylinder when appliances are not in use. Ensure that the cylinder is "in test" and maintain hoses and fittings against salt corrosion. Remember that LPG flows like water and may gather in the bilge.
  • Maintain electrical equipment (a significant cause of fires on vessels) and do not operate any electrical switches or equipment if flammable vapours are present.

Fire safety tips

  • The wind, waves and sun multiply the effects of alcohol so stay under the prescribed limit
  • Flammable vapours are heavier than air and accumulate in the lower parts of the vessel, ventilate your vessel prior to attempting to start the motor
  • Ventilate battery compartments adequately as the gases produced are explosive
  • A portable fire extinguisher is designed for small fires, read the instructions and familiarise yourself with its operations, know where it is and regularly inspect it.
  • Visit the NSW Maritime Authority website [external link]

In an Emergency Call Triple Zero (000)

A collaboration of the Fire & Rescue NSW, NSW Rural Fire Service, ACT Fire Brigade and ACT Rural Fire Service