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          Besides sinking, the greatest regular threat to any vessel is fire. A fire prevention mindset is essential on a boat. Once started a small fire can very quickly become a big one. Do mental practice of these procedures.


  1. Always turn off propane solenoid and let burners on stove die before turning stove knobs off.
  2. Always check all burners are off before turning one on to light the stove
  3. Keep propane tanks in cockpit locker that vents overboard
  4. Cook remains in/near galley whenever stove is on, especially near if it's on low heat
  5. Gasoline tanks are kept tied on the deck
  6. Run all gasoline out of the outboard before storing it on the cockpit rail
  7. Check smoke alarm is functioning OK once a month
  8. Turn on the CO detector whenever the engine is running
  9. Oily cloths (or those used with flammable liquids, polishes, paints, etc) should be discarded after use–never kept them in an airtight bag/container. To keep for continued use another day, put them in an open bucket on the deck or in the cockpit.
  10. Run the blower in the engine room after any propane is exhausted from the stove by mistake.
  11. Fill the gas tanks on the dock and not on the boat
  12. Close the hatches and portholes on the windward side of the boat when refueling
  13. No smoking on board
  14. Service fire extinguishers annually
  15. During routine maintenance, inspect the condition of all wiring running through the place where you are working
  16. Acquaint everyone on board with: (i) location of all 4 ABC fire extinguishers and the fire blanket; (ii) the three categories of fire (A=wood, paper, plastic, cloth, rubber; B=flammable liquids, grease, paint; C=electrical, wiring, fuses, etc.); and (iii) how to fight a fire


  1. If there's an explosion, prepare to abandon ship. If time permits, deploy the liferaft, otherwise grab life vests and jump overboard.
  2. If underway, helmsman turns and holds boat with head into the wind.
  3. The first thing to do is to fight the fire; do not waste time transmitting May Day or Pan Pan unless you are abandoning ship.
  4. For galley fires, immediately turn off the propane switch, then:
  5. Engine fires:
  6. Fire below decks.
  7. Use a fire extinguisher as follows:


  1. Fires that have been extinguished by smothering must be cooled so they don't smolder and relight. They can be cooled with water, baking soda, or wet towels. The area around the fire must be cooled, as well as the location that was burning. Air into the burnt area should be reduced to a minimum concomitant with keeping a watchful eye on it for several hours.
  2. Next, clean up and repair, rewire, etc.
  3. Go to school on the fire, and take some lessons learned.



©2004 The Trouser Rollers. All rights reserved.
This page was last modified on:
August 9, 2009