Boat fires can cause serious injury to passengers. If a fire breaks out on your boat, there are certain steps you should follow.
In the event that a fire breaks out in the back of your boat, you should immediately stop the engine. If you can position the boat so that the fire is downwind, do so. This will stop the fire from spreading. Then, use your marine fire extinguisher to contain and stop the flames. If the fire is too large for you to extinguish it, evacuate the boat. Before advising passengers to evacuate, make sure all are wearing a personal flotation device. Boat fires often break out because of engine problems or other electrical issues, hence why they are often concentrated in the back of both recreational and commercial vessels.
To have our boat accident lawyers review your case for free, call Rivkind Margulies & Rivkind, P.A. today at (305) 204-5369.
What to Do if a Fire Breaks Out in the Back of Your Boat
If there is ever a fire on your boat, especially in the back, near the engine, you should do a few things to ensure your safety and the safety of others on your vessel. Start by stopping the engine. Then, change the positioning of your boat so that the fire is downwind. If possible, use your fire extinguisher to mitigate the damage. If you cannot control the fire yourself, promptly evacuate the vessel.
Stop the Engine
Boat fires often happen in the rear of a vessel, where the engine is located. If the source of the fire is the engine itself, turning off the engine will be especially important. Regardless of the cause of the fire, turn off the engine immediately. This will reduce the chances of the fire spreading or causing an explosion that injures you or others on your boat. Stopping the engine should be your first priority. However, if you cannot turn off the engine because the fire has spread throughout the boat, evacuate.
Change Your Positioning
If you are on a small boat, use oars to point the front of the boat in the direction of the wind. This should only be done if the fire is indeed in the back of the boat. If the fire is in the front of the boat, point the stern in the direction of the wind. This should stop the fire from growing or spreading to other areas of the boat. Even if the engine is cut off, you may be able to steer the boat to change its positioning so that the fire does not worsen and is contained to the back of the boat.
Use Your Fire Extinguisher
Then, grab your marine fire extinguisher. It is good practice to keep these fire extinguishers away from the back of the boat where the engine is. That way, if there is a fire in the back of your boat, you will be able to access your marine fire extinguisher safely. After you pull the pin on your fire extinguisher, aim it at the base of the flames. Squeeze the handle and move the fire extinguisher in sweeping motions from side to side, up the flames until they are extinguished. If you cannot safely reach your marine fire extinguisher, do not endanger yourself and attempt to do so.
Evacuate the Vessel
If there is ever a fire on your boat, advise all passengers to put on personal flotation devices immediately. This will be important, as it might be necessary to evacuate the vessel depending on your ability to combat the flames with a marine fire extinguisher. Because of the possibility of emergencies, all recreational and commercial boats should have enough personal flotation devices on board for all passengers. Do not put yourself or your passengers in danger by staying aboard a vessel that is being consumed by flames. Before evacuating the vessel, radio or call for assistance from emergency response personnel. Prioritize the safety of yourself and your passengers and know when to leave your boat if a fire breaks out. If anyone was injured because of the fire, whether when evacuating or otherwise, inform the necessary law enforcement agencies of the incident.
Why Might a Fire Break Out in the Back of Your Boat?
Water and electricity don’t mix. Electrical problems, especially engine problems, are a top cause of fires aboard recreational and commercial boats.
Boats are equipped with safety mechanisms that aim to prevent electrical fires due to water and moisture. When these mechanisms fail, engine fires might occur, putting all boat passengers in danger. Electrical fires can be especially difficult to extinguish, so if there is a fire on the back of your boat near the engine, evacuating might be best.
Fires might also occur because of passenger or owner negligence. Smoking on boats might cause fires, as might other reckless activity. Although a top cause of boat fires is electrical issues, that is not the only reason a fire might break out in the back of a boat or in any other area of a vessel.
Boat fires might lead to burns or injuries sustained when a passenger attempts to evacuate a vessel. Should a fire occur while you are on a boat, and you are injured in any capacity, contact our Miami boat accident lawyers immediately. If the fire was due to mechanical issues caused by defective machinery, our attorneys may be able to file a lawsuit against the manufacturer. Or, if you were injured as a passenger on a boat because the owner’s negligence caused a fire to break out, you may be able to file a lawsuit for compensation against the boat owner.
Call Our Lawyers About Your Recent Boat Accident
You can call the Tampa boat accident lawyers of Rivkind Margulies & Rivkind, P.A. at (305) 204-5369 to set up a free case evaluation.