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Safe at Sea: Fire checklist

By PAT SCHMIDT - | Feb 16, 2021

In its South Winds newsletter, the Sarasota Power Squadron offered the following fire checklist:

– Inspect your boat’s bilge frequently. Keep it free of grease, oil and debris. Check your fuel system for leaks.

– Regularly inspect electrical wiring. Repair bare wires or loose electrical connections to prevent sparks from igniting fuel vapors.

– Use only marine-rated parts for repairs.

– Store dinghy fuel and propane topside, where they have plenty of ventilation.

– Ensure charcoal is completely cold before securing the grill. Use caution since the embers may remain a fire hazard long after use.

– Close all hatches before fueling; ground your fuel line nozzle against the fill pipe to eliminate static sparks.

– Ventilate your engine compartment after every fueling until you can no longer smell any dangerous vapors.

– If your boat is equipped with a bilge blower, run it for at least four minutes until the bilge is clear of fumes. Sniff the blower exhaust.

– Most boat fires are caused by starting the engine when gasoline vapors are present in the bilge. This type of fire starts with an explosion and spreads rapidly.

Pat Schmidt is a member of America’s Boating Club of Sanibel-Captiva. For more about the chapter and its boating education courses, visit www.sancapboating.club or contact education@sanibelcaptivasps.org or 612-987-2125.