Boating Safety Is For Life

Monday, May 22, 2017

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Boating Safety News; Fires

Well, it's  spring and it's time again for people to start preparing their boats for the season. So here is a reprint of my annual rant on boat fires.  Do not fall into the trap of thinking that modern boats with more sophisticated fuel and electrical systems are immune to this.  Care and proper maintenance must be taken before using your boat.

My Annual Spring Rant About Boat Fires:
This is the season for spring fitting out. People are anxious to get out on the water and have fun. But it is also the season for boat fires and explosions. In fact it's already started to happen.  The reason is simple. Lack of adequately preparing your boat for the season ahead, and being a little too hasty when fueling your boat. Here is a post I made about this in 2008. It still applies.
In some cases it is self explanatory, especially for those occurring in the Spring when boats are being brought out of storage, or fires that occur just after fueling. Most fires are electrical in origin, but if you have a gasoline powered boat the danger of a catastrophic explosion is very real.  Fortunately there are few deaths, but they do happen, and the injuries are usually horrific. The destruction is usually total.

The key to all of this is following proper maintenance of fuel and electrical systems, and fueling procedures. I cannot stress maintenance enough. Every spring, check your fuel system. Replace any hoses or fittings that are questionable. Have the tank and fuel system pressure tested for leaks. Check the clamps that keep the hoses in place. If they have started to corrode, replace them. Make sure the clamps you replace them with are 316L stainless steel, including the screw that tightens the clamp. Often the band is stainless but the screw is not. Fuel systems are not the place to try to save a few bucks. Make sure the hoses are USCG Type A hoses. Look for the label on the hose. Automotive fuel hose is not the same thing.  Again, don’t try to save a few bucks here.  Do not use automotive parts, either as hose or electrical parts on the engine. Do not replace starters, alternators and carburetors with automotive parts. They may look the same, but they are not the same. Electrical equipment needs to be marine UL listed, and ignition protected.  If your boat is an outboard, replace the fuel hoses with Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) hoses. They are designed to be UV resistant and must meet marine industry standards.

Every time you use the boat, check the engine compartment first. Take a look at the fuel system and fittings. Sniff for fumes. Adequately ventilate before attempting to start the boat. Run the blower for at least four minutes.  If the engine doesn’t start don’t keep cranking.  It isn’t good for the starter, and it could overheat the wires to the starter.  Wait a minute, and try again. If after a few tries it still won’t start, stop trying and find out why it isn’t starting.  Fix the problem before trying again.

Fueling is one procedure you need to be very careful about. There is a very specific way to fuel a boat.

1. Tie up your boat securely and have everyone get off the boat.  Shut off all the power on the boat. Turn off the battery switches.  If you have a propane system with any automatic pilot lights, shut them off. Obviously, NO SMOKING.

2. Close up the boat tight. Make sure all the hatches, doors, ports and vents are closed.
 NOTE: some people make the mistake of running the bilge blower while fueling.  DO NOT DO THIS. You are actually sucking fumes into the boat.  Wait until after fueling to run the blower, see step 6.

3. Fuel the boat yourself.  Make sure the nozzle is in the right opening.  You would be surprised at how many people have tried to fuel through a fish pole holder or filled the water tank with gas. Make sure the nozzle stays in metal to metal contact with the fuel fill.  Your tank and fuel system are grounded and electrically connected to the fuel fill so any static will be harmlessly discharged.  However, if you don't make initial contact with the fill a spark could jump from the fueling hose to the boat.

4. Make every attempt not to spill fuel or over fill the tank.  Know how much your tank holds and keep track of how much you use.  Know how much you need to pump. Clean up any drips or spills on the boat.  Dispose of the rags properly. Do not spill overboard. This not only pollutes the environment, it can get you a hefty fine.

5. Now, open the boat up completely. Open the doors, windows, hatches, ports and the engine room.  Check the engine room and bilge for fuel by both looking and sniffing.  The best gas detector is your nose. Thoroughly ventilate the boat, especially the engine room.

6. Turn the battery switch on and start the engine room blower. Let it run for at least five minutes.

7. Start the engines. Close up the engine room hatch and other doors and hatches you don't want open.  Get everyone back on board.  Turn on any other power switches and appliances that need to be on.

8. Get underway

What about electrical fires? One very common scenario is leaving the boat hooked up to shore power during the winter, using a space heater, and not checking on the boat. The shore power plug can become a real hot spot. Most electrical fires are a result of high resistance in a plug or other electrical device, creating enough heat to catch fire. High resistance occurs most often at connections. The shore power plug is just one of those connections. The others are connections between wires and electrical devices, connections in the panel box to a buss or to circuit breakers and fuses.

Corrosion is the main culprit. The damp environment leads to rapid corrosion. Corrosion does not conduct electricity very well. This can even occur in fuse holders.  Fuse holders are usually copper. Copper corrodes rapidly in a marine environment, especially if it’s saltwater. Keep wiring out of the bilges. If your boat should flood during the winter, you may have to replace all the wiring and electrical equipment. Get it inspected by a certified MARINE electrician. All electrical systems need to be inspected annually, at the least.  If you don’t use your boat very often, you should check each time you use the boat.  Plugs and connectors should be kept clean and shiny.  Check fuse blocks for corrosion and clean the contacts. Check circuit breakers for proper operation. Check electrical equipment for proper operation.  If something keeps tripping the circuit breaker or blowing a fuse, find out why. Do not ignore it or jump the breaker or fuse. Fix the problem. Not doing so could mean a fire.

If you have shore power, pull the plug on both ends and inspect the cord and both ends for corrosion. Do a resistance test.  If it’s any more than 0 ohms, or at most 1 ohm, find out why.  If the cord is getting old, cracking, getting soft, or frayed, replace it. Check the shore power socket on the boat. Is it clean and free from corrosion? Check the cap over the socket to make sure it is keeping moisture out of the socket.  All of these things will help prevent fires on your boat.

Stay safe, be safe.
Peter Eikenberry,

As an additional safety measure, here is a sign you can post on a fuel pump or near the fuel fills on your boat.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Boating Safety News

Officials hope it will not only promote boating safety, but increase the use of life jackets. Boaters can access the life jacket loaners at a kiosk at the

Safety experts warn against paddling in high water ... Strong currents can pull a person or their boat into places they don't want to go — such as ...
MACON, Mo. — As part of National Boating Safety Week, which takes place May 20 to 26, the Missouri State Highway Patrol is encouraging boaters ...
The Clerk's Office is also reminding new and existing boat owners take time to register your ... The Boater's Safety Guide is available by request.
Boating regulations cover everything from personal flotation devices to stopping the spread of invasive species. Knowing them could save your life ...
“We will have a number of vessel safety equipment experts on hand to help the boating public have fun-filled and safe outings on the water,” said ...
Boating safety experts say to always wear a life jacket anytime you get on a boat and make sure that it is properly sized and fits snug and is well ...
There will also be a demonstration and hands-on activity covering basic water rescue and boat safety, plus a drawing for a free seven-week session of ...
The two-part seminar will go over topics related to safe operation, regulations, responsibilities of boat ownership and operation. The courses will be ...
If you need your boat inspected before the summer months, come to Bluffton's Boat Safety Day on May 21 where members of county and state ...

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Boating Safety News

The first demographic required to carry the state-mandated California Boater Card by Jan. 1 are boaters between the ages of 16 and 20. At the start of ...
The people who came to take the training were actually taking a break from the International Boating and Water Safety Summit and they were amazed ...
Faulty wiring or damaged electrical cords used in docks and boats can cause nearby ... To help promote safety and reduce the risk of electrical shock:.
“Always wear a life jacket when you are on the water and avoid overloading boats with mates, equipment and dogs,” he advises. Water Safety New ..
Boating safety classes are scheduled for May and June as the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 83 joins boating safety advocates across the U.S. .
  US Coast Guard Auxiliary, Flotilla 092-01-01 holding free vessel safety check
These checks are free and are done by a member of the local U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, Flotilla 092-01-01 Massena. A certified vessel examiner can ...
The law requires a marine carbon monoxide detector for any boat that has a closed accommodation compartment with a sleeping area, a galley with a ...

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Boating Safety News

In fact, the Schuyler County Sheriff's Department is offering a boating safety course next month. The course will cover boating basics like what to look ..

That same year, he discovered a class offered by U.S. Power Squadron, the world's largest recreational boating organization devoted to boating safety ...
He reportedly pushed the officer's hands off his boat's safety railing. Then he went below and came back out with a signal flare gun and pointed it at ...
Safety officials have warned about potentially “catastrophic” consequences with Great Sound boaters getting too close to the America's Cup teams.
... hosting an illegal passenger vessel and bareboat charter workshop on Saturday, April 29, in conjunction with the Chicago Harbor Safety Committee.
When sailing layering is the best approach to clothing, especially when the water is still cold. The men are wearing salopettes, a one piece, armless ...
Coast Guard plans safe boating course at Colt State Park Coast Guard plans safe boating course at Colt State Park. Posted 4/29/17. Hunters, anglers and pleasure cruisers are all invited to learn the ways of
Now, a Lake St. Louis husband and wife have invented a product for recreational boating safety to improve the visibility of people in towable water ..
If you missed your chance for an official check-up, you can visit the Coast Guard's website to schedule someone to examine your vessel for free.
KENNEWICK, Wash. - The Coast Guard hosted an Open House Saturday at Clover Island to talk to the public about boating and water safety.
The empty boat churned in an endless circle, the torque created by the .... Slowly, some states are taking boating safety regulations as seriously as .

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Boating Safety News

CLEVELAND (WLUC) - The Coast Guard is reminding mariners to think safety first for the coming boating season following multiple reports of ...

As summer approaches, United States Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 83 joins boating safety advocates across the U.S. and Canada to promote safe ...

With the opening of the lowland lake fishing season on April 22, reviewing boating safety rules would be pretty wise. No matter how much experience ..

JUNEAU — The Dodge County Sheriff's Office Recreation Patrol will be hosting a Boat Safety Certification Class in late May. Individuals who were .

Only four of those operators said they had completed the state's boating safety course. In fact, all but one said they had failed to receive any formal ...

SACRAMENTO — California officials have added a free online class offered by BoatUS to their list of approved boater education courses that meet the ..

Safe Powerboat Handling (SPH) is great for those new to boating, couples adventure, children learning to boat. The course runs a total of 16 hours or .

The Fort Lauderdale company said the new program is called Safe Boating and is a five-day course that includes two days on board a 24-foot .

Boater safety courses are required for anyone seeking to operate a boat in New York. Anyone born before May 1, 1996 is exempt unless they plan to ...
The requirement is due to new safety and enforcement rules adopted by the ... Washington's licensing department sent notices in late March to boat ...
SHASTA LAKE, Calif. - Fifteen law enforcement officers from around the state are in Shasta County this week for an Inland Boating Operators Course.
Pensacola Sail and Power Squadron, a unit of the United States Power Squadrons, will offer a boating safety class on Tuesday and Thursday, May 16, ...

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Boating Safety News

Robinson is with the Alouette Power and Sail Squadron, a Maple Ridge-based group, now celebrating its 60th year of boat safety instruction.
Classes are taught by local Auxiliary members who have years of experience teaching boating safety and interacting with students. Students will be .
GREENSBORO, NC -- With the weather getting nicer in the Triad, more people will be out swimming and boating on the lakes. Lake Brandt was ...
  Boating season is just around the corner and the Cape Ann Flotilla chapter of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary is offering an in-depth safety course for ..
The Little Axe Community Center is hosting the Boat Oklahoma course provided by the Marine Enforcement Section of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.