Fire down below!

I’ve only ever had a fire on board once, when the alternator controller burst into flames as a result of a lightning strike. A dry powder extinguisher did the business, putting out the fire efficiently even though the resultant snow storm of white dust took a long time to clean up.

Fire on board needs to be taken seriously – three people die each year in Britain alone as a result of fire on recreational craft. The picture shows what can happen if attempts to control a fire fail. This incident was caused by a propane tank leak but it could as easily have been a result of several other scenarios.

As long as we carry combustible materials on board – for cooking, heating and to propel the boat – we need to manage fire safety properly. There are various sources of excellent advice on preventing and dealing with fires on boats including the UK Boat Safety Scheme booklet. Check on line for this information and apply it to your boat.

Fire on board a boat is a very scary prospect; make sure you have a plan to tackle it.