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Old 08 January 2009, 18:34   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by codprawn View Post
The best thing to use has been banned - a Halon extinguisher. The green ones that you used to see on every public service vehicle.

It literally smothered the fire - a 1kg Halon was better than a 10kg CO2 and much better in the open air.
I just knew that would come up!!!
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Old 08 January 2009, 20:19   #42
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Interesting thread and with the lack of rescue around here (lifeboat? what dat den...) it is something I have given some thought to.

I think I'd probably try and shut off the fuel and power, try the extinguisher (though I have always thought it was probably p'ing in the wind, pretty much confirmed by the above comments) and then get up the bow on the tube ready to hop over the bow and hang on to the painter in the hope I had a boat left to climb back on to once the fire had gone out. I always carry the handheld clipped to my lifejacket so calling for help once off the boat wouldn't be a particular problem.

One idea I used once on a gas cooker fire (grilling steak, too much oil and heat, whooomph whole lot caught fire, flames coming up through the vents at the back of the cooker!) was a CO2 cylinder out of a Soda-Stream machine which I use for my beer barrels, this has a "push to operate" fitting on it and I banged this down onto the vents at the back of the cooker and the fire was out in about 3 seconds. I wondered about putting a metal fitting in the top of the outboard hood through to the inside that you could whack something like that onto and smother the fire inside. Not really got beyond the thought stage but it might be quite effective and there is a hell of a lot of CO2 in a soda stream cylinder.

I am a bit dubious of the water idea based on the fact that burning petrol floats on water...
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Old 08 January 2009, 20:36   #43
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I've been wondering about the possibility of hooking up a bottle from a self-righting bag complete with the pull toggle and hose to mine.

Not sure what they are filled with-but if it's air I suspect I could get one filled with CO2 at my local welding shop. They seem to discharge a good multiple of the air space under my cowl and pretty quickly too.

What do people think?
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Old 08 January 2009, 21:06   #44
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As is so often the case with these scenarios, they can vary hugely on the day.

What caused the fire? What is fuelling it? What size engine is it? (At least on a larger engine, you probably have more boat to retreat down!)....

My thoughts are purely safety first:

Delegate one crew member to immediately send a quick Mayday call - could just be the thing that saves your life.

DO NOT remove cowling - they have been designed with this in mind, so leave it where it is to minimise oxygen supply. Instead, remove potential fuel for the fire. If it is a small engine and it is not a major fire (yet!) you could try and remove fuel line - there is obviously a risk associated with this. A better bet (especially with larger engines that cannot be easily disconnected) is to use a trusty pair of mole grips and clamp the fuel line shut as close to the engine as it is safe to do so. I would strongly advise against cutting the fuel line - you will end up with a substantial amount of fuel sloshing in the bottom of the boat just waiting to go "whoomph"!

The next decision is whether to shut off all electrics (ignition sources?) or to leave the engine running to help remove fuel until fire goes out. Tricky, but there is something to be said for trying to get as much fuel burnt in the cylinders and then out the exhaust, rather than allowing all the residual fuel (and there can be quite a bit!) to just burn away. An added advantage is that you can turn the boat for shore/help and the movement of air past the boat will cause fire to be held at the back and be blown away from the crew. Also, the nose up attitude of the boat will keep any burning liquids spilling from the engine at the transom - away from you and your fuel tanks.

I am sceptical as to how effective the average fire extinguisher would be, especialy now that Halon has been banned. Dry powder tends to be almost useless (if it goes off at all after a year or three of bouncing about and compacting in an exposed RIB). If the cowling is doing a good job holding back the flames, then you might consider having a go at squirting an extinguisher into the intake, but the baffle effect designed in will cut the effectiveness hugely. That said, if flames are leaping, then bets are off and give it a go from a distance! I personally think I would tend towards safety first and protection of my crew - get the boat close to somewhere you can get safe, or get someone to come to you.

The boat/engine can always be replaced!

If the fire goes out (or if you don't like my theory about keeping engine going!!) turn battery off at isolator or disconnect it, removing potential ignition source. Leave cowling in place - removing it could cause fire to reignite dangerously! Hopefully, that will now be the status quo settled and steady until you can get off safely.

Of course, this is only my own take on things and as such comes with a health warning!! I am sure everyone has their own ideas - some entirely opposite to mine - but I would say that if it ever happens to you, take a few deep breaths and assess the situation before acting (except getting the Mayday call out - it can always be downgraded!!). A hasty yank at a cowling could cost you more than your good looks.....

Regds

Mike
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Old 08 January 2009, 21:27   #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BogMonster View Post
Interesting thread and with the lack of rescue around here (lifeboat? what dat den...) it is something I have given some thought to.

One idea I used once on a gas cooker fire (grilling steak, too much oil and heat, whooomph whole lot caught fire, flames coming up through the vents at the back of the cooker!) was a CO2 cylinder out of a Soda-Stream machine which I use for my beer barrels, this has a "push to operate" fitting on it and I banged this down onto the vents at the back of the cooker and the fire was out in about 3 seconds. I wondered about putting a metal fitting in the top of the outboard hood through to the inside that you could whack something like that onto and smother the fire inside. Not really got beyond the thought stage but it might be quite effective and there is a hell of a lot of CO2 in a soda stream cylinder.
I remember the fire brigade experimented with a spike type device to ram through the bonnet of a car which would then inject gas through the hole.

It would be quite easy to rig up a pipe under the engine cowling. prob best look at such setups from the rally world - using FM200 or similar.

I bet there are still some nice Halon units lying around in the Falklands somewhere!!!
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Old 09 January 2009, 01:19   #46
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So would one of these be any good?

http://simplyextinguishers.co.uk/fir...e-blanket.html

or this

http://uk.rs-online.com/web/search/s...duct&R=4337407

If your really that worried I still think a 20 mm hole drilled in the front of the cowl with a removable plug so you can spray your extinguisher through it is best.

I mentioned it before but can't find the post
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Old 09 January 2009, 01:55   #47
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So would one of these be any good?

http://simplyextinguishers.co.uk/fir...e-blanket.html
I feel the blanket idea has merit...you can use it protect yourself from the fire if necessary, or, if safe to do so, you can approach the fire protected by the blanket. In the first instance, I still feel that excluding the oxygen sounds safer than attempting to exclude the fuel. If the blanket puts out the fire - and therefore reduces the heat and the risk of getting burnt - then the next action might be to disconnect the fuel supply to reduce any remaining risks.
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Old 09 January 2009, 03:40   #48
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Water cannot put out the fire from leaking fuel etc.
The CO ext. only can.
Personally I used to have one extinguisher and later I bought a second one.
Now that I bought a Yam 3.30 I 'll put the big ext. on the bow bag in order to be away from the engine and reachable.
Also a blanket could be usefull to limit the extend of the fire and then with the ext try to put out the fire.
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Old 09 January 2009, 05:45   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ktmakis View Post
Water cannot put out the fire from leaking fuel etc.
The CO ext. only can.
Personally I used to have one extinguisher and later I bought a second one.
Now that I bought a Yam 3.30 I 'll put the big ext. on the bow bag in order to be away from the engine and reachable.
Also a blanket could be usefull to limit the extend of the fire and then with the ext try to put out the fire.
The blanket seems to have lots of advantages. As I understand it, the problem with using water is that it disperses the oil, petrol, whatever and spreads the fire but I wonder if a wet blanket would be useful in lowering the temperature and keeping the fire contained. The water would also serve to increase the time taken to burn through the material and could perhaps be "topped up" by throwing more water on?
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Old 09 January 2009, 06:40   #50
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You need to remove either the oxygen or the fuel. (and I mean anything that will burn, not just the petrol!) Removing ignition source will stop it restarting. The wet blanket works by preventing (or reducing sufficiently) further oxgen form getting to the fuel. Water works on wood & paper type fires becasue the wood / paper absorbs it & it cools down. Petrol & oil, however, float on water, so throwing water at a petrol or oil fire will just disperse it. You guys that managed your car / bike fire with water were lucky.

This discussion set me thinking about my "new" toy. The clamshell has about 8 foot of "sealed" joints around the casing. Or at least they were sealed when it was new.... Sealing that to prevent oxgen ingress would be a nightmare.

I agree keeping it ruinning to use the fuel would be good, BUT I an think of two engines that when the plufg was pulled (to empty carbs) will run for at least 2 mins. I donlt thing going WOT in that scenario would be the best idea?

Also agree the mole grips on fuel line sounds good, but just how buried in the seat are your tools, bearing in mind how often you use them compared to your waterproofs, lunch box, spare warps for mooring, camera etc etc that are prorobably lying on top of them......

I do like the soda stream idea tho....
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