Boating Basics Online - Basic Boating Safety Course
Chapter 8 - Accidents and Emergencies

Fires On Board

A boat on fire.You should read and understand the instructions on your fire extinguisher(s). If a fire starts, you should be prepared and not hesitate. Grab the fire extinguisher, activate it, and direct it at the base of the flames using short bursts and sweeping it from side to side, covering the area of fire until extinguishment is expelled or fire is completely out.

Be familiar with the type of extinguisher you carry. Don’t wait until you have a fire before you read the operating label!

Remember P. A. S. S.

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If underway and a fire starts, stop the boat and position it in such a manner that the fire is downwind. Order everyone to put on lifejackets. If possible try to turn off the fuel source to the fire. Grab the extinguishers and control the fire.

Check the gauge on your fire extinguisher regularly to ensure that it is charged properly. Also, check the seals to make sure nothing has been tampered with. Remember, you should have the extinguisher recharged or replaced after you have used it.

PWC on fireAlthough fires in PWCs do not occur often, they are something you can help avoid and be prepared for. Leaking fuel lines, carburetors or gas tank may give combustion the necessary fuel to start a fire. This linked with an electrical short can cause damaging results. Proper and regular maintenance along with a pre-ride check will help you avoid a fire.

What if I can’t reach the extinguisher compartment?

Fire extinguisher compartment on a PWC.Water is an extinguisher and may be used to lower the temperature below fire point. This is fine if it is fiberglass, vinyl or other ordinary combustible. However, fuel and oil are lighter than water and will float on the surface and continue to burn.

Should your engine compartment be involved in fire you may be able to contain the fuels while overturning your craft and eliminating the oxygen supply allowing the fire to burn out quickly without causing major damage. Be cautious of fuel that may spread around you should you be in the water.

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