Further points for boaters to consider
Reducing the risks of fire and explosion from petrol can take a multi-layered approach. Here are some further points to consider in addition to the other advice in the Petrol Safety on Boats section.
- Consider having bilge blowers fitted to the boat to remove any flammable vapours prior to starting the engine. Bilge blowers need to be proprietary, have ignition protected circuitry and be sized to the volume of your engine space, so seek competent help to select and fit the right blower for your boat.
- In use, always follow the bilge blower instructions on when to run it and for how long, but never rely solely on them to keep you safe. Always carry out your checks of the petrol system before fuelling and before starting the engine.
- Consider the use of a suitable petrol vapour alarm to detect the presence of vapour in the engine space and alert the crew with an audible alarm. Only choose alarms manufactured to BS EN 50194 and sold by the maker as tested for marine use. Ideally the alarm will having sensors that are IP-rated, calibrated solely for petrol and capable of self-diagnostics of the sensor connection.
- Install smoke alarms as a part of your general fire safety protection. If fire breaks out unoticed they can give you the vital seconds of early warning to make the difference between escape and drowning in toxic smoke and fumes - see our smoke alarm advice
- Consider having fixed automatic fire extinguishing systems in the engine spaces. Assurance may be gained by choosing items approved a relevant marine body such as the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. Competent installers should help to select the right size and type of a fire extinguishing system for your engine space, including any required onward service costs. Remember fire extinguishing systems only help reduce effects of petrol vapour fires, they do not prevent fires starting.