2015 New York Safe Boating - 76

ACCIDENTS AND EMERGENCIES

Fires

the boat. Meanwhile, radio or call for help, and use your
visual distress signals. If it's safe and possible to do so, use
your	extinguisher	to	fight	the	fire	using	the	PASS	method:

Fires on board can be terrifying, can do a lot of damage to
your boat, and most important, can be deadly. The best
way to fight a fire is to prevent it from happening in the first
place. Check your fuel lines, clamps, and the tank itself for
leaks. Observe safe fueling practices. Place portable tanks
ashore when filling. Run the blower before starting your
engine, and use your nose to sniff out fumes. Clean up fuel
spills immediately and leave the oily rags on shore. Practice
good housekeeping and keep your boat clean! Don't
allowing smoking near the fuel (or better yet ban all smoking
on	your	boat).		Use	extreme	caution	if	you	cook	on	board.

	Pull the safety pin,
	Aim the nozzle at the base of the flames,
	Squeeze the handle in short (½ second) bursts, and
	Sweep the nozzle from side to side.
If the fire is out of control, abandon the boat. Get clear of the
fire, but stay in the vicinity as it will help rescuers locate you.

Capsizing and Falling Overboard

Types of Fires

Approximately	75%	of	all	boating	deaths	are	the	result	of	a	
boat capsizing or someone falling overboard. In almost all of
these cases, that person's life may have been saved if only he
or she were wearing a PFD. When the water is cold, a PFD

Class A fires are fires of organic materials that leave an
ash, like wood, paper, cloth, fiber rope, etc. You can fight
this	type	of	fire	using	any	type	of	extinguisher.		Always	follow	
up by dousing the burning material with water to prevent
re-ignition.

Class B fires are burning liquids, like fuel and oil, and
generally	occur	in	the	bilge.		Carbon	dioxide	or	dry	chemical	
extinguishers	work	best	on	these	fires.		You	should	never	use	
water; dousing a class B fire with water will spread the fire
rather	than	extinguish	it.
Class C fires carry a current; they happen when live,
energized electrical wiring or equipment ignites. Using a
carbon	dioxide	extinguisher	is	best,	as	it	will	cause	the	least	
damage to the energized electrical gear. Dry chemical is
effective	for	extinguishing	these	fires,	but	leaves	a	residue.		
You should never use water around electrical equipment;
it will conduct electricity and can electrocute you and your
passengers.
is often the only chance you'll have for survival because the
shock of the cold water makes swimming or holding your
head up above the surface very difficult.

Fire Extinguishers
Fire	extinguishers	pose	the	first,	
and sometimes only, line of
defense against fires on most
recreational boats. As discussed
earlier, you must carry a fire
extinguisher	as	required	by	law,	
and carrying more than one so
that	you	have	a	spare	extinguisher	
is always a wise decision. Make
sure your equipment is in working order and maintained
according to the manufacturer's instructions. Check your
extinguishers	frequently	to	ensure	they	carry	a	full	charge	and	
that	the	nozzle	is	clear	of	debris.		Mount	fire	extinguishers	in	
a readily accessible location, ideally near the operator.

Overloading your boat may lead to capsizing. Adhere to
the limits on your boat's capacity plate, and use common
sense. The risk of capsize increases when the weather is
rough or the current is hazardous, so be particularly cautious
in difficult conditions. You also increase the risk of capsizing
if you allow passengers to move around while underway, or
permit someone to ride on the bow or gunwale. That can
shift the weight of your boat off center, especially if you have
a smaller boat. Also, avoid sharp turns at high speeds which
can throw a person out of a boat.
DON'T EVER STAND UP IN SMALL BOAT!
MAINTAIN THREE POINTS OF CONTACT WITH THE BOAT.

Responding to Fires

Responding to a capsize

If you have a fire on your boat, follow these steps in order:

If you're in a boat that capsizes, grab a PFD immediately if
you're not already wearing one. If your PFDs aren't by your
side (readily accessible), grab something that floats, such as
a seat cushion or a cooler. Take a head count to see who

Don your PFD immediately if you're not wearing them
already. They may not be accessible later, and they increase
your chance of survival if you must abandon the boat. Try to
position the boat so that the wind blows the fire away from
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