Fire Prevention for Boat Owners

by Veronica Jeans September 22, 2016

boat fires and tips from the fire department

Advice from the Fire Department

  • Most marina fires start aboard an individual boat. Many of the common fire prevention tips for homes apply to boats too.
  • When choosing a marina, check around for fire protective measures such as fire extinguishers, cleanliness, clear dock passageways, security, good lighting, etc. If you don't feel safe, take your boat and your business elsewhere.
  • Use Underwriter's Laboratory (UL) marine approved cord sets and connections. Do not hook up if you see burn marks or your cords sets will not firmly connect.
  • Routinely replace cord sets. Worn or overload cord sets and damaged shore power connections are a common cause of fires.
  • Regularly inspect electrical and fuel systems. Have a professional upgrade the wiring to maintain the needs of your navigational equipment and other appliances.
  • Never leave operating electrical equipment, including heaters, unattended. When leaving your boat for any reason turn portable heaters off.
  • Smoke alarms are important life-saving devices and should be installed in your boat.
  • Plan your escape. Having an escape plan can save your life in an emergency.
  • Have a U.S.C.G. approved fire extinguisher on board and know how to use it. Fire extinguishers should be mounted near an exit so you are moving toward an exit as you access the extinguisher.
  • Keep the dock clean and clear. Don't leave engine parts, tools or other equipment on the dock.
  • Properly dispose of oily rags in a metal container with a tight fitting lid. Leaving oily rags wrapped up in a grocery sack is not safe. The chemicals will begin to breakdown the rags, causing heat and possibly a fire.

Boat owners must take responsibility for preventing fires on their boat and in the marina. The most common causes of boat fires—electrical malfunctions, unattended portable heaters and poor housekeeping—are not particular to boating life. If you see a fire hazard or have concerns, share them with marina management.

      - Some of the information is from Mike Telleria (

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Veronica Jeans
Veronica Jeans


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