Fuel fires aboard vessels spread rapidly and generate intense heat. Few people are able to combat them.

The answer is in preventing fires rather than fighting them. A number of fires or explosions can occur during or immediately after refueling.

You can help avoid explosion and fires on boats by following a few common sense safety steps:

  1. Shut down engine, motors, fans and heating devices before refuelling
  2. Never smoke while refuelling
  3. Leave room for fuel expansion in the tanks and wipe up any spills
  4. Refuel portable fuel tanks on shore, not in the boat
  5. Check the bilge for leakages, fuel odour and ventilation
  6. Use only approved marine stoves
  7. Ensure the mast and rigging are well clear of power lines when using launching ramps, parking areas or sailing on rivers
  8. Install the recommended fire extinguisher 20BE Dry Chemical minimum size (on outboard and inboard power boats). If the vessel has a galley, a fire extinguisher and a fire blanket should be considered. Preferred location for the extinguisher is adjacent to the driver’s seat or adjacent to the exit.

LP Gas

  1. LP gas cylinders should be located in a well-ventilated space on deck
  2. LP gas valves should be turned off at the cylinder immediately after use and cylinders should be well secured
  3. In the event of fire, LPG cylinders should be removed from the heat source. If this is not possible, keep the cylinder cool by spraying water on it
  4. If flames are threatening to engulf a gas cylinder, the vessel should be evacuated
  5. In the event of a gas leak, close all cylinder valves and ventilate the vessel
  6. Do not operate any electrical switches until the air is clear as they may spark and ignite the gas
  7. Fit a gas alarm or a gas-detecting shut-off device if your vessel uses LP gas
  8. It is highly recommended you use a qualified gas fitter if installing LPG, updating or renovating the gas system on your boat.

This information was provided by Tasmania Fire Service