As the state’s boating season continues and more residents navigate the waters for fun and sun, the Washington State Fire Marshal’s Office ask that you voyage responsibly and safely.
Fires that occur on boats can spread quickly and present unique response challenges due to hazardous conditions and limited access.
According to a 2020 report by the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, nationally 6% of boating accidents resulted from fires onboard, with 2.2% of those fire incidents occurring in Washington state.
The best defense against fire is prevention.
Boating safely every year includes the following:
- Install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.
- Have an emergency plan and practice it.
- Inspect electrical wiring, connections, cords, and battery-charging equipment to ensure proper installation and their condition.
- Have appropriate fire extinguishers and make sure that they are easily and readily accessible and that they are not more than 12 years old from the date stamped on the extinguisher bottle. Extinguishers must be removed from service on December 31st of the 12th year.
- For boats built in 2017 or earlier, only extinguishers rated as Marine Type US Coast Guard approved Type B:C, size I or size II should be used.
- Check your cooling and exhaust systems to ensure they are working properly.
- Turn off portable heaters whenever leaving your boat or going to sleep.
- Only use certified chargers for personal electronic devices and don’t overload any of your power outlets.
If a fire does occur, alert boat occupants and quickly get to a safe location and contact the fire department. If fire can be contained with a fire extinguisher, use it from a safe location, the fire marshal’s office advises.