To minimize the chances of accidents and injuries on personal watercrafts, the US Coast Guard implements a number of safety protocols and guidelines. But not everyone who boards a PWC will know exactly what to do in case of an emergency. For instance, how well do you understand what to do in case a fire breaks out on board?
Exactly. That said, it’s important that all of your passengers are informed of the protocol for fire safety and prevention while on your boat. The question now is - who is responsible for explaining fire safety procedures to passengers on a boat? Here’s a quick guide.
Whose Responsibility is It to Explain Fire Safety?
Although it’s immensely important to give passengers a run down of fire safety procedures before they board your boat, no one at the dock or the marina will do it for you. According to the Boat Ed quizlet, as the operator of the boat, you are legally responsible for making sure that your passengers are aware of any safety protocol necessary during the trip.
As the operator, it’s your job to make sure that everyone knows what they need to do in case of a fire. That also includes informing all of your passengers of the protocol and practices they need to keep in mind to prevent fires in the first place.
Boat Fire Safety Procedures
No one wants to deal with a fire on board a boat, especially when you’re too far out on the water to get help. But even then, there are things you and your passengers can do to extinguish the flame, prevent injury, and head back to safety in one piece.
Stop the Engine Immediately
Keeping the engine in operating during a fire could exacerbate the flames especially if there’s fuel or electricity involved.
Make Your Passengers Wear Their PFDs
In case of an emergency, always wear your PFD. This decreases the chances of drowning in case you need to leave the boat or if you fall overboard.
Turn the Boat so the Fire Blows Away
Consider the wind direction and position your boat so that the wind blows the fire out of the boat instead of into it.
Disconnect the Gas Tank
Cutting of the fuel source can isolate the flames to just one part of the boat, and prevents the fuel tank from combusting.
Get Your Extinguisher
There should be a fire extinguisher on board. Aim at the base of the fire, pull the pin, squeeze the lever, and sweep back and forth over the base of the flame until it’s out.
Ask for Help
While you’re handling the fire, ask one of your passengers to send out a distress signal through your radio.
Once the fire is out, do not turn the engine back on under any circumstances. There’s no way to tell if the engine was damaged during the fire, and turning it on could spark another fire. Instead, wait for the Coast Guard to arrive. If you have paddles on board, you can try paddling your way a little closer to receive help.
If the flames were not extinguished, then you might not have a choice but to jump overboard. Also, if your boat has a lifeboat, then deploy the safety measure and calmly evacuate your passengers, assisting women, children, the elderly, and the disabled first. See to it that everyone is wearing their PFD’s. Join together in the water and try to wade as far away from the burning boat as possible.
Fire Safety Tips on a Boat
Although it’s important to know what to do in case of a fire, there are a load of things you can do to prevent fires and minimize the dangers. These include:
There are an estimated 350 boat fires each year. But by understanding the safety specifics including how to respond to a fire in the first place, boat passengers and operators can decrease the risk of injury and property damage.
Make sure to also check out our guide on what to do if a fire breaks out at the back of your boat.
The More You Know
How many times have you accommodated guests on your boat without properly informing them of fire safety protocol? Unfortunately, not all boat owners know who is responsible for explaining fire safety procedures to passengers on a boat. But with the right preparation and planning, you should be able to provide your guests all the information they need to efficiently respond to a fire on board.