Checklist - Engine Fire On A Boat | Become A Cruiser

Checklist – Engine Fire On a Boat

An engine fire at sea is one of the most frightening experiences. No sailor wants to have to deal with fighting a fire at sea. Advance preparation is key to dealing with any emergency at sea. It is essential that all crew members are familiar with the checklist philosophy and flow. I suggest that the checklist is used for a few mock drills to familiarise the crew with how the checklist is to be used.

Checklist Philosophy

Boxed Items

The Boxed items are immediate recall memory items. The skipper and any crew member manning the helm should commit the items within the box to memory. Including the order in which they are written.

Checklist Usage

The memory items are performed first, from memory. The checklist is then consulted, and item by item, each checklist item is verified as complete.

The remaining items are assigned to individual crew members and are completed as a ‘Read and Do’ checklist. Where the checklist is read and then actioned. I suggest that multiple copies of the checklist in flip binder format are available on board so that each crew member can take the checklist covering their duties with them during an emergency.

Cannot Cater to All eventualities

A checklist covers a general scenario and is not all-encompassing. Crew discretion is required to ensure the safety of the vessel. After any emergency, general housekeeping of the vessel is to be carried out by the crew to ensure the vessel is configured for the revised plan/current state.

Most Severe Emergency Checklist Performed First

The Checklist for the most severe emergency is to be dealt with first. For example, at any stage, if the fire from an engine fire was to get out of control. The ‘Engine Fire’ checklist would be stopped, and the ‘Abandon Ship’ immediate recall memory items actioned.

Checklist Engine Fire – Deisel Powered Boat Only

ENGINE FIRE

• AFFECTED ENGINE GLOW/ STOP SWITCHSTOP
• ENGINE POWER SWITCHOFF
• ENGINE BLOWER SWITCHOFF
• ENGINE FUEL SELECTOR VALVEOFF
• CROSS FEED/ FUEL TRANSFER SWITCHOFF
• ENGINE BATTERY SWITCHOFF

TURN VESSEL SO THAT THE SMOKE AND FLAMES BLOW AWAY FROM THE BOAT

CREW MEMBER 1If alone action first
Engine Fire Access PortOpen
Fire ExtinguishersActivate
Empty all but one extinguisher into the engine compartment via the engine access port

WAIT 60 SECONDS

If fire is not extinguished
Remaining Extinguisher – Activate

If Fire is Out

Preserve remaining extinguisher for possible re-ignition
CREW MEMBER 2If alone action second
ELTLocate
Transfer to cockpit
Ditch bag/ Grab BagLocate
Transfer to cockpit
Emergency Water ContainerLocate
Transfer to cockpit
Hand-Held VHFLocate
Transfer to cockpit
FlaresLocate
Transfer to cockpit
Air HornLocate
Transfer to cockpit
MaydayTransmit
Hit DSC auto Mayday broadcast set to Fire

….. IF FIRE EXTINGUISHED

WAIT 15 Minutes to Confirm the Fire is Out

IF POSSIBLE. As soon as the fire is out one crew member shall return to sailing the vessel and standing watch.

DO NOT OPEN ENGINE COMPARTMENT FOR A MINIMUM OF 1 HOUR AFTER CONFIRMATION THAT THE FIRE IS OUT. BE PREPARED TO USE REMAINING FIRE EXTINGUISHER FOR FLARE UP.

Skipper Shall Delegate Member to ActionConfirm Actions are Completed With The Skipper
Washdown Pump (if Installed)Place through the engine access port and flood engine compartment until certain the fire is extinguished and the source of heat is removed
Communication ResponsesUpdate any responders to the status on board.

Damage AssessmentComplete

DECISION

• ABANDON SHIP Consult CHECKLIST ABANDON SHIP
• DIVERT Consult CHECKLIST DIVERSION
• CONTINUE

If the decision is made to continue check all systems, remaining engine and sails are configured for continued passage.

Complete CHECKLIST LEAVING THE DOCK

DIVERT OR CONTINUE

Decide to downgrade emergency to PAN PAN with local vessels.
Inform Coast Guard: via VHF/ SSB/ Telephone/ Sat Phone/ Text and/ or Email

…. IF FIRE NOT OUT

Skipper Shall Delegate Member to ActionConfirm Actions are Completed With The Skipper
EPIRBACTIVATE
Distress MessageSend

Update Auto transmit on VHF to Abandon Ship

Checklist Abandon ShipComplete

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Nic

Hi, I’m Nic! Our Family of four have been out cruising since 2016. We have sailed about 15,000nm, almost halfway around the world. We sold everything, took the leap of faith, and bought a 10-year-old Lagoon 380 ex-charter catamaran. We’ve fixed every system on the boat, often more than once. Cruising has been such a wonderful, positive experience for our family that I want to share my tips to help you Become a Cruiser.


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