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Boat Blows up

Discussion in 'General Yachting Discussion' started by NYCAP123, Aug 24, 2014.

  1. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    One more avoidable death. In a call home tonight I found out about a boat exploding in Manhassett Bay while fueling. A 74 year old man was kill and at least one other injured. Such a common mistake. It was a gas boat, and evidently they didn't vent the boat sufficiently after fueling. PLEASE: After fueling turn on your blowers for 4 minutes. It's real easy. You don't need to sit there with a stop watch. After you fuel turn on your blower, then go pay for your gas. That'll take about 4 minutes. Most gas boats I run I leave the blowers on all the time while running. Who cares if the $30 blower burns out in 5 years instead of 8. Gasoline fumes are extremely volatile.

    Officials: Man Killed In Boat Fire At Manhasset Bay Marina CBS New York
  2. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Very true to leave the blowers on. ALSO physically check the bilges after fueling and always before startup as well. It sounds like it had a fuel leak somewhere.
  3. Fishtigua

    Fishtigua Senior Member

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    A family friend owns a large marina complex. They no longer sell Gas and do not allow Gas engined boats to dock there.

    He does not seem to have lost any business and his insurance premiums have gone down. Would you blame him?
  4. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Doesn't even need to be a fuel leak. all you need is for the breeze to blowing in the wrong direction while fueling and the fumes will enter through the vents.

    Up here in Canada they will not let you fuel your own boat. Not sure I trust the dock kid more than myself. Down in the states most marinas won't let their employees do the fueling for fear of liability. Not sure which is better. Guess it depends on the boater and the dock guy, but turning on the blower after fueling is always the boater's responsibility. Sad story, but I hope at least a few remember it by next summer.
  5. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    I wouldn't be surprised a bit either if after the gas started the fire, propane didn't enter the picture in the explosion. It has become the nemesis of many inland marinas.

    The marina we frequented most on the lake would not start to fuel you until you'd run the blower. If they couldn't hear the blower or weren't satisfied it was adequate they would require inboard outboards to open their engine covers.
  6. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    My understanding and from printed instructions while fueling was to close all hatches and companionways. Remove all peoples from below decks. Blowers OFF.
    Now, no fumes would travel or get drawn into the boat.
    Only after fuel delivery was completed did you open anything up and turn on the blowers. Drawing fresh air in and expelling any fumes that may have collected. My pop taught us to sniff the bilges before starting the engine(s).
  7. SomeTexan

    SomeTexan Member

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    This is how I was taught too. I've had a marina refuse to let me fuel a boat while I had the cover off of an outboard before as well.
  8. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    Correction as I obviously was typing while distracted. Would not let you start your boat until you'd run the blower or opened the cover would have been correct. As pointed out, hatches closed for fueling.

    Blame the above on my co-passengers, 7 females in bikini's or less.

    Here is fueling instructions from Boat US which some marinas had posted.

    Secure boat to the dock
    Switch off engine(s)
    Extinguish all open flames
    Do not use electrical switches
    No smoking
    Ports, hatches, and doors closed
    Make certain all passengers are ashore
    Determine quantity of fuel required and make sure it is the proper type of fuel
    Hold hose nozzle firmly against fill pipe opening
    Do not overfill
    Wipe up all spillage
    Open ports, hatches, and doors to ventilate
    Turn blower on for four minutes minimum
    Do the sniff test
    Start engine(s)
    Re-board Passengers
    Untie from dock and cast off


    As to my last comment about opening covers when they couldn't hear blowers. You'd be amazed how many lake boats have broken bilge pumps and/or blowers.
  9. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    Thanks for correcting my obvious error.
  10. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Correct, except remove all people from the boat completely. Blowers off during fueling, so they don't draw the fumes in, and then start them after fueling is complete.

    Olderboater propane is unlikely unless they have a small bottle for a rail BBQ. Most of the stoves on these boat are electric and generally don't find the 30lb. tanks on anything but houseboats around here. Gasoline fumes will do the job very well on their own. Seems not a summer goes by without hearing these stories, and not just a few. We really do have an automobile mentality with a lot of aspects of boating, and feel relaxed enough to ignore what our fathers taught us. There's very little new about the accidents we hear of. Just the names of the victims. This, going near people in the water with props spinning, drinking & boating, excessive speed. All dumb stuff from people who should know better if they just took a basic boating course.
  11. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    Houseboats are probably the most common boats in boat fires. And propane tanks for BBQ grills are common as well. Plus many use propane for stoves and refrigerators.

    The majority of boat fires are not at the time of fueling but it certainly is a place for being cautious. People fueling sometimes seem in such a hurry when 5 or 6 minutes could save their lives and boat.

    Unfortunately, most accidents of the type you mention aren't lack of education but simply lack of judgment. It's not skills, but it's using common sense. I'm all for education, however.

    And as to automotive mentality, it's not all that successful in autos. And all those drivers supposedly passed a test.
  12. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Exactly, which I why when I'm teaching (although I'll mention the 4 minutes) I tell them that as soon as they finish fueling turn on your blower and then go pay for the fuel. This they can do without thinking. By the time they've paid and settled back on the boat at least 4 minutes have generally elapsed. The old KISS principle.