Earlier this month, the Hargrave luxury motor yacht, Limitless, was lost to fire off the coast of the British Virgin Islands (BVI).
The almost 100 foot motor yacht was anchored near the island of Virgin Gorda, a popular yachting destination in the BVI, when she was engulfed in flames that originated from short circuit in one or more of her electrical appliances. The flames engulfed the whole yacht, but her captain and crew escaped to safety in the yacht’s tender. They escaped without injuries, but, despite the efforts of local firefighting authorities, the yacht was a total loss.
Fortunately, all hands escaped without harm, but this event is an object lesson in how easily a fire can occur even on a modern, apparently well maintained motor yacht. It was also fortunate that this fire erupted close to port. Had it been out at sea it could have been a very different story, with not only the loss of the boat, but loss of life, a very likely scenario.
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 recommend 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 yacht’s 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.