Fire alert

Fire alert

After two boat fires in NSW this week, State Ports and Waterways Minister, Paul McLeay, has issued a reminder to boaters to be extremely cautious about fire safety on vessels.

“At this busy period of the boating season I’m urging owners to be vigilant about fire safety, particularly when refueling their vessel,” McLeay said.

“Fumes can linger in confined spaces after refueling so it is important to allow vapours to dissipate or use blower ventilation if your boat is equipped with these devices.

“It is also good practice to remove passengers and crew during the refueling and start-up process.

“It is a legal requirement to carry an approved fire extinguisher on most vessels, and it is crucial you know how to use it,” he said.

McLeay urged boaters to regularly check that engine compartments are properly ventilated and inspect fuel systems for leaks.

“Be sure not to fill your fuel caddies in the boat. Instead take them ashore when refueling and clean up any fuel spills quickly,” McLeay said.

“Keep the bilge, engine compartment and engine clean and free of combustible materials and be careful when using fuel stoves and lamps, checking the electrical system regularly to minimise the chance of electrical sparking.

“By taking simple and basic safety precautions and conducting regular safety checks on their vessels skippers minimise risks to themselves and others,” he said.

Wednesday’s (January 6) boat explosion at the Empire Bay Marina at Bobbin Head is the second serious boating incident in as many days.

On Tuesday, a 16-year-old male suffered burns and was airlifted to hospital following a boat fire on the Murray River, near Lake Mulwala.

Boating fire safety tips include: 
* Have an approved fire extinguisher, service it regularly and know how to use it;
* Keep the bilge, engine compartment and engine clean and free of combustible materials;
* Check your engine compartments are properly ventilated;
* Be careful when using fuel stoves and lamps — don’t store your extinguisher close to the stove or engine compartment;
* Check your fuel system regularly for leaks;
* Check the electrical system for faults and keep all components in a clean state;
* Don’t fill your fuel caddies in the boat, take them ashore when fuelling; and,
* Clean up fuel spills quickly.

For more information,

Photo: Paul McLeay.