Basic fire safety aboard yachts
by Kelly Sanford
Fire safety inspections
Recently, Boatinternational.com was invited to join Charlock and Resolve’s Fire Training Manager Tom Jones, as they reviewed the 47m motor yacht Ohana.
During the walkthrough, the Resolve instructors explained the nuances of the vessel’s equipment, pointed out common fire hazards, reviewed systems, suggested drills and recommended some additional tools and gear for being prepared for the most serious situations.
Ohana recently had completed inspection and met all ISM and class requirements. Even so, Jones explains, ‘As experienced firefighters, there are things we see when we are physically aboard a boat that may not come to mind while writing a comprehensive code.
‘We can envision a fire on that boat – one within the actual spaces – and we can suggest things that may not come up in a classroom or be required by compliance codes’
Prevention is the priority
The most fundamental part of a fire safety plan is making the effort to prevent a fire from happening in the first place.
In addition to making sure your crew has all the training and gear necessary to effectively fight a fire aboard the boat, it is imperative that they be given sufficient time to execute drills and do the maintenance items required to prevent a fire in the first place.
‘The engine room, galley and laundry are the top three danger zones on boats,’ explains Jones. ‘Regular maintenance and cleanliness are instrumental in reducing risk in these high-risk areas.’
Many of yachting’s most infamous fires have been caused, in part, by demands of naïve yacht owners intent on maximizing recreational use of the boat to the detriment of maintenance and safety.
The importance of integrating sufficient time in the boat’s itinerary for crew to train for emergencies and address essential maintenance issues cannot be emphasized enough. An owner who does not acquiesce to a captain’s request to address a safety or maintenance issue of concern is flagrantly inviting danger to join his guests on the next trip.