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Firefighting on personel boats

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  • Firefighting on personel boats

    Anyone out there have any training ideas on firefighting on boats either in dry dock or in the water. The reason I ask is Because we have 4 marinas in my district with some boats costing twice of what the average home costs and being in the north east they are in dry dock for 8 months a year. I am just wondering if anyone can help me out because I feel that this is a huge gap in our training here. Any help would be great guys.......
    Thanks guys for the info. As for a fire boat we do not do any water rescue. That is left up to the Coast Gaurd and the sherrifs the city of Rochester doesnt even do water rescue on the lake or that part of the riveras for us we only have 3 life rings. As for the Coast Gurd and fighting fires they are not allowed to fight any fire as per their regulations. Atleast thats what they say. They only have a 50 gpm trash pump onboard there 42 foot boat. What I am looking for is if any of your departments have any s.o.p's. or any training materials that you could let me in on. Once again thatks.
    As for what kind of boats I am talking about. I am guessing they are from small personell fishing boats to 50 foot or less personel boats. Not many commercial boats here.As for dry dock i mean in storage or for sale. As for Hwoods comment and they are allways appriaciated P.S. Still waiting on P.G. county. I know the system of the coast gaurd not fighting fires and the sherriff doing rescue and intervention but it has allways been that way. I really dont know why it is like that. All I am looking for is the best way to perserve property in the marinas due to the large amount of money that the people have put into these boats. Once again any help would be great....
    Last edited by Truck150; 06-30-2003, 07:55 PM.

  • #2
    I would treat any boat fire below decks as one would a cellar fire... except that if the boat is in the water, it could sink.
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY


    • #3
      Get a dedicated fire boat it allows much more flexibilty in fire fighting operations.


      • #4
        Boat Fires

        You might want to try contacting the Coast Guard in your area. They may have some good training materials, and you may need to call them in the event of a boat fire in the water to help with fuel/oil, clean up.


        • #5
          When fighting a fire aboard a boat/ship you must consider that your firefighting medium (water) is adding weight to the vessel [1 gallon of water = 8.33lbs] and will thus affect the bouyancy of the vessel.

          I kind of need to know how large of a boat/ship you are talking about. Many vessels are required to have automated fire suppresion systems in their machinery spaces. Because of their watertight construction - they are also airtight. Many of the systems are flooding systems designed to lower the oxygen content of the compartment to the point that it will not support combustion. They use either Halon or Carbon Dioxide. Remember existing Halon systems can be used - the halon cannot be replaced. Many new systems are CO2.

          If you are fighting a fire on a vessel... any vessel - and you are using water-- keep in mind that you will need to "de-water" the vessel in order to keep it afloat.

          The construction is different, and you have many MANY confined spaces aboard ship.

          You might want to pick up a copy of IFSTA's Marine Firefighting, and their Marine Firefighting for land based firefighters... they are a pretty good read - and contain alot of information.

          You mentioned 'dry dock' -- are you talking about 'out of water' storage for the winter?? Or are you talking about a dry dock where a vessel is repaired??

          Hope I have given some info -- hope I have raised a few questions?? E-mail me or post here-- I'll answer what I can...

          The US Coast Guard, or the US Navy would be good sources of information... You may want to use a search engine - look for shipboard firefighting -- or damage control.
          Last edited by FFMcDonald; 06-30-2003, 05:42 AM.

          "In Omnia Paratus"

          Member - IACOJ
          "Got Crust?"

          -- The opinions presented here are my own; and are not those of any organization that I belong to, or work for.


          • #6
            As Someone else said, Huh???

            DON'T GO NEAR THE WATER....YET. I admire your desire to get ahead of the game, a mark of professionalism. My advice would be to get your playing field leveled out first. The Sheriff does water rescue? The Coast Guard doesn't do fires? You got a big mess on your hands and you need to start at one end and work thru to the other. Everything MUST be consolidated under the FD, Firefighting, Rescue, HazMat, Etc. IF the FD is going to play at all. Your area's fragmented approach is a disaster waiting to happen, don't get caught up in it, The first time something goes wrong, everybody will be blaming everybody else. Who oversees the sheriff? Start a campaign to move everything dealing with water rescue and recovery to the FD, or tell the sheriff to buy firefighting equipment and deal with all of the waterfront. On training, my source is at www.MFRI.org and it's FREE. Stay Safe....
            Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
            In memory of
            Chief Earle W. Woods, 1912 - 1997
            Asst. Chief John R. Woods Sr. 1937 - 2006

            IACOJ Budget Analyst

            I Refuse to be a Spectator. If I come to the Game, I'm Playing.



            • #7
              I have investigated several recreational personal boat fires on land. I can tell you that these fires spread very quickly and put out a ton of smoke. One of these fires was inside a showroom. It looked like the building was going to come down, with all the smoke. It turns out that the fire basically involved one boat in the middle of the showroom. I have also investigated them in rack storage (on top of one another) and parked net to each other (touching). These fires always involved multiple boats and took a long time to put out.

              The reason is the construction. Today's boats are all fiberglass and plastic. They burn like the hammers of hell.

              My advice if they are on land is to write off the boat(s) that are involved, try to get the marina to move the boats that are in the most danger and do something to cut the fire off. Also, when these boats have burned, they are not longer stable. They can fall over and cause a collapse. Set up a safety zone and don't get anyone hurt.

              One of the biggest problems around the water is making sure the guys don't fall in. It's not easy to swim in turnout gear, especially if it's February. Safety sector is a must and a RIT team, with guys who can and are willing to go in the water, is a must.

              Oh yeah, I have never done an accidental boat fire on land. Evidence preservation rules are in effect.


              • #8
                Also come from an area with many marinas and lots of personal boats both on land and in water. As George said, if it's on land, protect exposures as the boat is already a loss (usually). If you are talking the 28' and less boat size, I would not count on automatic suppression systems. Also note, when they are stored in dry dock for the winter, their fuel tanks are filled. They do that to cut down on moisture. Many of boats that remain in the water all season will have heaters of some type in the engine area. They may be heaters made for this, and they may be something the guy made himself. They have been our #2 cause of fires on boats. If you are talking commercial boats (we have a large commercial fishing fleet), they have horribly dirty engine rooms, many confined spaces, and a hodge-podge of homemade contraptions all over the boat. You will find wires, hoses, ropes, nets, etc all over below deck as they use every available space. They are also famous for making do with what they have, so "jury rigging" things happens often. Commercial boat Captains are also VERY concerned over what is going on with their boat and will try to be in the middle of everything. Do not cause unnecessary damage.

                As for any training on boats like these, try talking to some boat owners and get a walk through. We have found NO relevant classes that have been any good. The Coast Guard offers a class, but it was on cargo ships. By the way, our Coast Guard will fight boat fires, from their boat, they have no PPE and will not go on board a burning boat. They have been willing to give us a ride out to the burning boat so we can enter.

                Good Luck and Stay Safe - boat fires are interesting.
                "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?


                • #9
                  Boston I believe had a 9-alarm marina fire that extended to several rows of shrink-wrapped boats. One of the responding battalion chiefs wrote an article on it for Firehouse. By my recollection of the article, a crash truck had to be special called from Logan, and only on its arrival and deployment of mass quantities of foam were the boat fires halted.


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