What Should You Do If The Motor On Your Boat Catches Fire?


What is a boat motor fire?

Boating can be a pleasant way to spend time on the water, but it can also be hazardous if something goes wrong. A fire in a boat motor is a serious and perhaps fatal situation. It can, however, be minimized with a few precautions. 

We’ll go through the causes of boat motor fires and some preventative measures in this article. Between 2003 and 2007, boat motors were the leading cause of boat fires, accounting for 34% of all boat fires. 

The most prevalent trigger of these fires was engine failure or malfunction, followed by fuel spillage. Engine failure or malfunction is the predominant cause of boat motor fires. 

This is because the ignition source is usually a spark away from a spark plug. Electrical faults in the boat’s wire harness can generate a short circuit, resulting in a spark.

Boat engine fire causes

Boats are a popular way to enjoy the water, but they are also potentially hazardous. Fire is one of the risks associated with boat motors. A watercraft motor fire can have numerous causes, although some are more common than others.

  • One of the most likely causes of boat motor fires is electrical wiring issues. Worn and frayed wiring, faulty installation, and overloading the electrical system can all result in fires.
  • Boat motor fires can also be caused by fuel leakage. Fuel leaks may be caused by a poor seal on the fuel tank, a broken fuel pump, or a kink in the fuel line. 
  • Overheating is another major cause of boat motor fires. A faulty cooling system blocked air vents, or a poorly placed fan belt can all contribute to this.
  • Improper maintenance is a common cause of boat motor fires. These fires can be caused by neglecting to change or properly maintain the spark plugs, air filters, and other engine components.
  • Unauthorized alterations might potentially result in fires in boat motors. It is possible to replace the ignition switch and/or other electrical components without prior authorization and this could cause trouble if done incorrectly.
  • Corrosion induced by the sun and salt water can also cause boat motor fires.

Preventing a boat engine fire

Boat owners can aid in preventing their boat motors from catching fire by doing a few easy things.
The most crucial aspect is keeping the engine clean. Check hoses, cables, and connectors for damage or wear regularly. 

They must ensure that the engine is greased appropriately. It’s also critical to keep the engine cool by not using the boat in hot weather and keeping an adequate fire extinguisher onboard.

A fire can also be started by a fuel leak. Watercraft owners are responsible for ensuring that all fuel lines are completely sealed and that there are no fuel leaks surrounding the engine. 

To put out a fire started by a spark or other heat source, an appropriate fire extinguisher should be carried on board. To avoid damage to the boat and its equipment, proper maintenance is essential. 

To avoid a fire, watercraft owners should ensure that all appliances and other equipment on the boat are properly maintained.

What to do if the motor on your watercraft catches fire

In the unfortunate scenario that your vessel motor catches fire, there are certain things you can do to try and save it. However, safety must always come first. To begin, use a fire extinguisher to put out the fire. 

If it doesn’t work, turn off the engine’s fuel supply by closing the fuel valve. To prevent the engine from sparking, remove the spark plugs. Finally, get off the vessel and telephone for assistance.

What should you do immediately should a watercraft motor catch fire?

If you’re aboard a boat and the motor catches fire, the first thing you should do is get off the boat as soon as possible. This can be accomplished by jumping overboard or leaving by any available hatch or door. 

The most crucial thing to do if you’re on a boat and the engine catches fire is to get as far away from the boat as possible. If you have lifejackets, try to utilize them and keep in mind that water will put out most fires. 

If you don’t have any other options, jump overboard and pray the boat sinks before it reaches you. Remove everyone from the boat and keep an eye on them for any signs of smoke inhalation. 

If you encounter someone with symptoms, get them to a safe place right away. If you can’t get off the boat, stay on it and have a fire extinguisher nearby:

  • Attempting to put out the fire in the engine could result in more harm. Do not attempt to abandon the ship by swimming if there is no open hatch or entrance; you may not be able to reach safety in time. If there is a fire on board, stay away from it and try to put it out with prudence.
  • Remove the boat from the vicinity of other vessels and structures. Put the boat in gear and get away from the location if you can. Pay attention to your passengers or crew members and attempt to keep them calm until assistance arrives.
  • If a fire breaks out on board, do not try to put it out yourself especially if you have no experience handling fires. It could result in more harm, as well as injury or death. You may have to wait for the fire department to arrive. If you are confident in your skills, put out the fire. When the fire is extinguished, call the fire department; they will be able to advise you on the best course of action. If you opt to wait for the fire department, stay as far away from the fire as possible and keep an eye on it so you can quickly get yourself and others to safety should it get out of hand.

If you’re aboard a burning boat, the smartest thing you can do is get off the boat. You should not attempt to put out the fire since you may get injured. The fire could spread throughout the boat, causing it to sink. 

If possible, attempt to locate a life jacket or other sort of flotation gear to keep you safe until help arrives. Await the arrival of the fire department.

What should you do if your boat’s front deck catches fire?

If a fire breaks out in the front of your boat, you should do the following:

  • Pull over to the nearest dock or safe area.
  • Sound a warning signal using an air horn, whistle, or bell.
  • Have everyone abandon the ship and move a safe distance away from it.
  • Use a fire extinguisher to try and put out the fire (if possible).
  • Call for help. If you are unable to put out the fire, evacuate the boat and wait for help to arrive.

What should you do if a fire breaks out in the back of your boat?

If a fire breaks out on your watercraft, the first thing you should do is get everybody out of the vessel and onto the shore.

If there is a lot of smoke, stay close to the ground where the air is clearer. If you can’t get off the boat, use a fire extinguisher if you have one, or any other available method, such as water or sand, to put out the flames.

Call 911 and tell them what happened after the fire is out. Unless you have a fire extinguisher on board, stay away from the flames and smoke if a fire breaks out in the back of your boat.

It’s always a good idea to tell someone where you are going; should you lose contact with the shore and are unable to get off the boat, they can help you call for help when they don’t see you.

Types of Fire

Fire is an important element in human life. It has been used for cooking, heating, and protection for centuries. There are different types of fire that are used in different ways. Some of the most common types of fire are discussed below.

  1. Class A fire: A Class A fire is the most serious type of fire. It is fueled by ordinary combustible materials, such as wood, paper, and cloth. Class A fires can cause extensive damage and are often difficult to extinguish.
  2. Class B fires: Class B fires are those that involve flammable liquids, such as gasoline, paint thinner, and solvents. Many Class B fires can be easily extinguished with a fire extinguisher, but some can be very dangerous and difficult to control.
  3. Class C fires: Class C fires are the most common type of fire. They are caused by electrical equipment and wiring, and can easily start in your home or office. To prevent a class C fire, it is important to know the common causes and how to properly use electrical equipment.
  4. Class D fires: Class D fires are those that involve combustible metals. The metals most often involved in these fires are lithium, magnesium, and potassium. Class D fires can be especially dangerous because the metals involved can produce extremely hot flames and toxic smoke. To fight a Class D fire, firefighters need to use special equipment and techniques.
  5. Class K fires: Class K fires are those that involve combustible cooking oils and fats. These fires can be especially dangerous because the heat from the fire can cause the oils to spread rapidly, leading to a greater fire. To extinguish a Class K fire, you need to use a dry chemical extinguisher.

Boat Motor Fire Extinguishers

  1. Amerex B417T 2.5 Lbs. ABC Dry Chemical (5-B / Old B-I Compliant)

The Amerex B417T 2.5-pound ABC dry chemical fire extinguisher (5-B Old B-I Compliant) is a powerful fire extinguisher that can put out Class A, B, and C flames. It has a vast reach and can put out fires quickly. With a simple pull pin and squeeze trigger construction, the Amerex B417T 2.5 Lbs. ABC Dry Chemical (5-B Old B-I Compliant) is equally simple to use.

  1. Amerex B402 5 Lbs. ABC Dry Chemical (5-B / Old B-I Compliant)

The Amerex B402 5 Lbs. ABC Dry Chemical (5-B / Old B-I Compliant) adheres to the former B-I classification system. It is an excellent solution for Class A (flammable solids), Class B (flammable liquids), and Class C (electrical) fire protection. The agent is long-lasting and simple to use.

  1. Amerex B456 10 Lbs. ABC Dry Chemical (20-B / Old B-II Compliant)

There’s a new player in the fire suppression game, and her name is Amerex. The company has just released the B456 10 Lbs. ABC Dry Chemical (20-B Old B-II Compliant), promises to be a big hit with safety professionals everywhere.

This particular product has a lot to offer users. For starters, it meets the stringent requirements of the 20-B Old B-II compliance rating, making it an ideal choice for use in high-risk areas.

Additionally, the Amerex B456 10 Lbs. ABC Dry Chemical (20-B Old B-II Compliant) is incredibly easy to use, thanks to its simple design and user-friendly controls. Plus, it’s lightweight and compact, so you can take it with you wherever you go.

  1. Ansul 436500 Sentry 10 lb ABC Fire Extinguisher (20-B / Old B-II Compliant)

The old B-II fire extinguisher rating is met by this Ansul 436500 Sentry 10 lb. ABC fire extinguisher. It has a sturdy aluminum body and is simple to operate. With a discharge time of 15 seconds, this extinguisher is ideal for use in tight places.

  1. Shield Marine FX 13415M (5-B / Old B-I Compliant)

The Shield Marine FX 13415M (5-B Old B-I Compliant) is a dependable and long-lasting device that has been designed and produced to satisfy industry standards. It’s an excellent alternative for anyone looking for a dependable and high-quality fire extinguisher.

  1. Kidde Mariner 5 466179MTL M5G 5-B C

The Kidde Mariner 5 466179MTL M5G 5-B C is a CO alarm that is designed for use in marine environments. It is UL-listed for both Group 1 and Group 2 marine applications and has an ambient operating temperature range of -4 degrees Fahrenheit to 158 degrees Fahrenheit. 

The alarm features a silence/test button, a low battery indicator, and an end-of-life timer. It also includes a mounting bracket and screws for easy installation.

  1. First Alert 5 Lbs. BC Dry Chemical (10-B / C)

The First Alert 5 Lbs. BC Dry Chemical (10-B / C) fire extinguisher is UL-rated and can be used on Class A, B, and C fires. With a simple pull pin and lever handle, this extinguisher is straightforward to use.

The BC dry chemical agent will put out the fire quickly and completely without leaving any behind.

What Is The Best Place On A Boat To Keep Fire Extinguishers?

Fire extinguishers should be stored in an easily accessible location on a watercraft. They should be kept in an area that is neither too hot nor too cold and is not subject to moisture. The fire extinguishers should also be in a place where they can be easily seen.

Fire extinguishers need to be checked regularly, at least once a month. If you have a fire extinguisher for each type of fire aboard your boat, you can check them every time you moor or tie up the boat.

Where Should Portable Maritime Fire Extinguishers Be Installed?

Extinguishers for marine fires should be installed near the boat’s exit. This allows people to flee swiftly and easily in the event of a fire. 

The skipper should have ready access to the extinguisher so that it can be utilized to put out any flames that may occur. A fire extinguisher is usually installed under the helm. This is because it is easy to see and use.

Boat Insurance

Having the correct boat insurance will help protect you and your valuables should your boat motor catch fire while you’re out on the lake or river. 

In most cases, regardless of who is to blame for the fire, marine insurance will cover any damage to the boat or its contents. Before you go, make sure you ask your insurer about specific coverage details.

The Aftermath Of A Boat Motor Fire

The first step after putting out a boat motor fire is to get any passengers off the boat. Do not try to extinguish the fire on your own; this could result in catastrophic damage.

Douse the flames with a bucket or sea container once everyone has exited the boat. If you have access to water, use it; if not, pour seawater on the flames. Regularly ensure that your fire extinguisher is operational.

Extinguisher Replacement

If a fire extinguisher has to be replaced, follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer. Keep your distance from the burning vessel!

Finally, if your boat’s engine catches fire, remember to be calm and follow these steps:

  • Use a Class B or C fire extinguisher to put out the fire.
  • If the fire cannot be put out, get off the boat as soon as possible.
  • Call 911 and report the incident.
  • Remain away from the boat until assistance arrives.

You’ll have a better chance of safely putting out the fire and preventing further damage if you follow these procedures. In the long run, prevention is preferable; every boat owner must take adequate care of their vessels to avoid mishaps.

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