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Fire suppression questions

Discussion in 'General Yachting Discussion' started by FlyingGolfer, Oct 7, 2019.

  1. FlyingGolfer

    FlyingGolfer Member

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    Hello all. As some of you might have noticed, I am pondering buying a Westport 130 in the near future. Before I do, I plan to charter several different yachts. Regarding charter and purchasing, which fire suppression considerations should be on the tapis? Are new boats safer in this respect? Which manufacturers are best and which systems? We all have our little idiosyncracies, mine is worrying about fires. Thanks to all you fine knowledgeable folks in YF land!
    I am setting my metaphorical stopwatch to see how long it takes Olderboater and Captain Ralph to respond. ‍✈️
  2. d_meister

    d_meister Senior Member

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    I ran a boat for a man that was trapped in a fire aboard his previous yacht. He had to run through flames to get out and was near fatally burned. When he bought his next yacht, he had a large Bomar-type hatch cut into the master head hullside. Didn't do much for the appearance of the vessel, but open the hatch, step on the toilet, onto the counter, and out.
    Westport probably builds in some excellent suppression equipment, but think worst case and make sure you can get out unharmed. And, review best practices aboard, like no smoking in the interior (the cause of the aforementioned fire), be certain fuel site tubes automatically shut off after being checked for level, CO detectors mounted low in living/sleeping areas, and smoke detectors mounted high in logical locations. One often overlooked cause of fires in general (not necessarily on yachts), is spontaneous combustion from oily waste storage, like rags. Many yachts have a lot of varnish. A former mother-in-law burned down two houses from painting projects.
  3. FlyingGolfer

    FlyingGolfer Member

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    Good advice, and thanks.
  4. FlyingGolfer

    FlyingGolfer Member

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    Smoking. Oily rags. What other causes have there been? Worn wiring? Internal fuel leaks? Appliance short circuits and overheated electric motors?
  5. captholli

    captholli Senior Member

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    The best systems in use aboard quality built vessels today are of the High Fog type. Quite a few different manufactures producing these systems & I believe Westport has High Fog as standard equipment and its installation is required by classification society. Fires aboard yachts are not unlike fires ashore with the exception of fighting them in tight enclosed spaces and in-between steel or alloy bulkheads. Similar types of ignition be it from stove top fires, Greasy / dirty galley ventilation ducting, dirty lint filled dryer ducting, Electrical component and wiring fires, chemical /paint storage fires etc.
  6. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    Smoking, kitchen, electric, garage.

    Smoking protection by simply not allowing smoking.

    Kitchen protection by allowing no unattended stovetop cooking, not even for 30 seconds to step outside.

    Electric protection by only allowing true marine electricians to do electrical work on top of a well designed wiring system at build.

    Garage protection by cleanliness and neatness. No soiled rags laying around. No rags used to absorb leaks allowed to remain.

    Classification does provide a layer of protection especially in initial design. Does so in boats not classified but identical to those often classified.
  7. captholli

    captholli Senior Member

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    No candles or open flame of any type. Formal dinner table settings using the fake LED candles in lieu of the real ones. Electric grills with no lid closure disconnect. And now the new fire source of overcharging Li-Ion battery packs for onboard toys. Crew personal electronics overloading their cabin receptacles etc. The list really can go on but the majority is basic common sense of what and where ignition can and will occur.
  8. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    The Number One item on any fire plan is prevention.

    No Smoking (including Vapes) , No candles, No open flames, No combustibles out of proper place.
    Many and properly inspected Co, Smoke, Heat, IR detectors installed thru the ship.

    On a Westport 130, Your crew must know and drilled on the location of every hand held suppressant bottle and know how to fight every type of fire (Electrical, Wood/paper, Chemical (floor carpet, synthetic drapes and covering), Fuel-oil) with the different agents (Co2, Halon/Haltron, Dry Chemical) scattered thru the ship.

    Our Bert has a FireAxe in a forward cabin closet.

    Machinery room fires start with the same restrictions; No Smoking (including Vapes) , No candles, No open flames, No combustibles out of proper place. Proper detectors. Correct engine replacement parts. Correct service procedures.

    Your 130 may have an actual fire hose somewhere. For COI, Your crew must be able to use this equipment without guidance.

    Hopefully you invested in firefighting courses for your permanent officers and crews.

    Better machinery spaces are also equipped with auto/manual fire suppression equipment. Factory installations are usually better than after market installs. Dampers, Blower control and more are easier to wire in at the factory.

    During new builds, review your concerns with the factory on all fire suppression equipment.
    Used ships, Bring in a real marine Fire Safety surveyor during your purchase surveys. Ask for any recommendations.

    Every year have all inspected. Your insurance company may already require this.

    Co2 Vs. Halon/Haltron.

    We managed from small up to 80 footers with different auto systems.
    Older Hatts with Co2 and later various brands with many different Halon-Haltron mixtures installed were always inspected and the first question we asked; What needs to be done? Any improvements or upgrades need to be done? Sometimes there was work to be done and the fire safety company managed this work.

    I can not offer a real example of what product is better.

    It is a blessing, none of our customers or boats have had a fire issue following most of these simple thoughts.

    Not sure if I answered your question or not, just hope it helped somehow.


    Before our company, I worked Sea-Tow in KB for a while. Walked on a few burning boats and stepped over a grease spot once.
    I pray I or anybody else, never has to face a fire on a boat. My lil exposure proved to me, it's worse than hell.
  9. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    This is a newer concern for all boaters.
    When Pascal started a thread on his work ships new foil toys, we all were concerned for him on storage and charging.
    The cause has not been released but an early guess printed on the dive boat fire mentioned a battery under charge.
    Other quick examples in print also, but these fancy batteries need attention.
  10. cleanslate

    cleanslate Senior Member

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    Hmmm...keep it simple stupid, year number five out of my wet cell 8Ds , check the water level spring and fall and always keep them charged. Still going strong.
    as always thanks for your excellent input.
  11. cleanslate

    cleanslate Senior Member

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    Plenty of 5 to 10 lb fire extinguishers on hand through out the boat; easy to find; ready to grab and go...what ever the builder and surveyor say or have on board , double the amount. When you really need an extinguisher, all of a sudden they can be hard to find in a panic, no matter how many times you run a fire drill .
  12. captholli

    captholli Senior Member

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    Not sure but I think that you missed the point of Ralph referring to Lithium Ion battery technology and the perils of inexpensive poorly engineered Li-Ion batteries and non auto sensing chargers overcharging and causing fires like in U/W camera -strobe gear etc. This could very well go for expensive well engineered configurations also I recon.
  13. cleanslate

    cleanslate Senior Member

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    Oops , I did. Lol, thank you . It's not my first time doing this... At times I can be such a Preppie Meathead !
  14. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    Disbelief.jpg
  15. FlyingGolfer

    FlyingGolfer Member

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    A wonderful and sobering collection of good advice, Many thanks to all!

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