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Old 07 January 2009, 09:07   #1
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Your outboard catches fire. What would you do?

Someone mentioned this on another forum and it occurred to me that I don't actually have a clue what to do if this happened. Suggestions?
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Old 07 January 2009, 09:19   #2
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Daft answer - jump off boat & start swimming away ( i've seen it done)

Sensible answer - call a quick mayday ( you can always cancel it & if it goes really wrong the boys in big orange boat are on thier way - you'll probably need a tow anyway !) .If you can , turn off the electrics & get the petrol pipe off ( cut or pull hard ! ) - get the fire extingusher ( which is of course easily to hand ) try & spray it in the inlet of the cowl. If it doesnt work that way - either stand at the other end of the boat , or keep trying if it seems to be working until its out / or the cowl melts & you can get it proper ( by which time you extingusher is probably empty).

Thats my best guess - what you are supposed to do is probably something differant
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Old 07 January 2009, 09:27   #3
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Fire extinguisher? A bucket would work better and there tends to be plenty of stuff around to fill it with.............................
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Old 07 January 2009, 09:28   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nos4r2 View Post
Someone mentioned this on another forum and it occurred to me that I don't actually have a clue what to do if this happened. Suggestions?
Here would be my plan - not saying its right - just what I would currently do:

  1. Turn off engine at ignition
  2. Get all crew as far from engine as possible
  3. Hit red DSC distress button on radio if fitted
  4. Disconnect the fuel line (mine unclips at tank)
  5. Discharge fire extinguisher in through engine air intake assuming fire not so bad that getting close is not possible, (do not remove the engine cover).
  6. Make voice distress call to CG (or if fire out it might be to downgrade the mayday to a panpan).
  7. If suspect electical fault isolate battery (accessed at front of console)
  8. Drop anchor if sensible to do so, and await rescue.
  9. If fire gets worse consider dumping fuel cans overboard (with vents sealed) or even going overboard myself.
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Old 07 January 2009, 09:38   #5
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Use the Fire Extinguisher that, as a really competent boater, you have always had on your RIB for just such a situation !!!!!
Seriously though, fight the fire for ONLY as long as it is safe to do so, fires fuelled by petrol usually develop very quickly and can easily result in an explosion which is very likely to cause serious injury.
Consequently, and depending on the specific situation, it is often necessary to consider "abandoning ship" and distancing persons from the hazard if other conditions are favourable.
Obvously, an early PAN/PAN or MAYDAY call should also be considered.
Every incident is different and actions will depend on the actual situation at the time.
Finally, prevention is the best option, make sure all fuel is properly stored and managed and that all possible spark sources (Electrical and Naked Flame) are eradicated. Fire at sea IS a nightmare !!!!!
Hopefully, a professional firefighter might comment on this issue.
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Old 07 January 2009, 09:52   #6
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It was featured on a sea safety cd that I recieved from the RNLI once. Will try and find it.
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Old 07 January 2009, 09:55   #7
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Found it online:

http://www.rnli.org.uk/upload/comple..._up_safety.htm

click on the black rib, bottom right. Then click navigate, emergencies, then fire.

Theres some nice videos if you click 'firefighting'.
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Old 07 January 2009, 10:08   #8
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Ok, given what the RNLI say,

1) How many of us have a CO2 extinguisher onboard? I don't -mine's dry powder and I doubt it'd work very well like that(though now looking for a small CO2 to replace the powder)

2) How do you get to the air intake like that on a pitching and rolling boat without going in yourself?
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Old 07 January 2009, 10:13   #9
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Fire extinguisher? A bucket would work better and there tends to be plenty of stuff around to fill it with.............................
You are joking about using water on a gas fire... I hope!
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Old 07 January 2009, 10:39   #10
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An ounce of prevention...

I believe most outboard fires are the result of leaking oil etc. coating the block and then igniting when the block gets very hot or there is an short of some kind. This happened to a guy I know who had an old beater mariner 60 years ago. If the engine is kept clean, the risk of a fire is pretty small I imagine...

I little "Gunk" can go a long way...
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