What do you think is the most serious danger to your motor yacht at sea? Pirates? Hardly! Is it weather or mechanical breakdown? True these are things to be cautious of and be prepared for, but the one thing most yachtsman fear more than any other is a fire on board.
A major fire on a sea-going vessel is very dangerous, even when the boat is close to port. Out at sea it can be devastating, with loss of the boat and loss of life, a very likely scenario. Ask any firefighter or emergency professional, and they will tell you that boat fires are among the most treacherous and difficult to fight. That is because of the many complicated factors in a yacht fire, such as: thousands of gallons of fuel, plastics and other composites that can become extremely toxic when they burn, plus you are dealing with very tight and multiple cramped spaces. It is a recipe for disaster!
For these reasons, many land based fire-rescue units will not board a vessel to fight a fire, unless they know there are passengers on-board in imminent danger. Even the US Coast Guard has a strict policy against personnel boarding a boat on fire, if it does not present an immediate risk to life.
That is why you need to take every precaution possible to prevent a fire at sea, and be as prepared as possible to get one under control quickly, should it occur.
How to Prepare for a Fire On Your Boat
If you have a crewed yacht, your crew will have had at least basic training in fire safety. Most yacht crewpersons have to be Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) trained. STCW training usually includes a full-day of fire-fighting instruction and drill. However, most fire training professionals say that is not enough, particularly for a large, ocean going motor yacht. Crew should receive at least an additional 3-day course in marine fire-fighting. They also should undergo refresher fire training every year or so.
You should have your yacht properly fire-inspected by the appropriate authorities. During such an inspection, the fire professional will inspect the vessel’s fire-suppression equipment, point out common fire hazards, review all systems for frayed wiring or any other signs of wear that can cause fire, suggest fire safety drills for passengers and crew, and may recommended any additional tools and gear to optimize your boat’s preparedness.
Everyone onboard your vessel should be prepared to:
- Know more than one way to escape, probably in the dark, from their cabin
- Know how to access a life-vest, and know their muster station
- Know where to locate a fire extinguisher and how to use it
Knowing what to do can control panic, keep your guests out of harm’s way, and allow the crew to more effectively deal with a fire emergency.
Prevention is key. Though it may seem like throwing a “wet blanket” on the fun and adventure you are about to embark on, as a yacht owner committed to safety, you should start every trip with a thorough review of your fire safety and evacuation plan with everyone aboard.
On Demand Yachting Provides Peace of Mind
Our On Demand yachting solution includes providing for all of your crew needs. All of our personnel are complety vetted, and you can be sure they are up to speed on all fire training and other safety certifications.
When it comes to making sure you and all of your guests are as safe as possible, having the right crew is only part of the equation. You must make sure you have all of the right safety gear on board, and that it is all where it should be and functioning properly. That means, in the unlikely event that they are ever needed all PFDs and fire extinguishers are maintained and recharged as necessary, first aid kits restocked, etc.
Maintaining your yachts safety gear at operational readiness is just one of the services you can count on from our On Demand Yachting Solution.
Operating a motor yacht can be costly. You can reduce your expenses, and avoid costly repairs by keeping her well maintained. On Demand yachting from FYM can help. If you would like to learn more, or if you have any questions or comments about this blog post, do not hesitate to contact our Yacht Management specialists, or call us at (954) 900-9968.