Marina & Boating Safety

Marina Fire Safety

A boat fire can easily grow and quickly spread to neighboring boats and structures. Wooden and fiberglass boats filled with sails, furniture and diesel provide ample fuel to a fire. Prevention and preparedness are crucial to lessening the impact of a marina fire.

The Marina Fire Safety Handout provides fire safety information necessary to develop marina emergency response plans and fire prevention guidelines for staff.

Marina & Boating Safety

It is important to take the time to prepare for a fire emergency. An emergency response plan should respond to the risk of fire as well as outline the responsibilities of staff and boat owners.

Establish a Safety Committee to develop an emergency plan that outlines the actions staff should follow in the event of a fire and the training guidelines needed to maintain their readiness. The following list includes many of the elements that should be included in your plan:

  1. Call 9-1-1 to report the emergency.
  2. Evacuate boaters and guests.
  3. Shut off the electrical power to the fire area.
  4. Shut down the fuel dock.
  5. Move adjacent boats away from the fire area but don't untie burning boats to drift away.
  6. Move any vehicles that may obstruct firefighting operations.
  7. Assign personnel to direct incoming emergency responders to the right location and remain available as an information resource.
  8. Work with Fire Department personnel during the development of your plan. Firefighters can assist you with procedural decisions and you help them by providing pre-fire information to your marina.
  9. Train staff to make decisions based on the plan. Training should include how to report a fire, conduct an evacuation and extinguish a fire using on-site firefighting equipment as applicable. If you expect staff to use equipment, you need to provide the training to safely and properly use each piece.
  10. Schedule drills for marina employees at least twice a year. Drills allow employees the opportunity to test and practice the marina emergency response plan. Drills also provide an opportunity to update and change the plan as needed. No matter how detailed or basic, the plan should be written down and updated regularly.

Boating Safety

Most marina fires start aboard an individual boat. Many of the common fire prevention tips for homes apply to boats.

When choosing a marina, check around for fire protective measures such as fire extinguishers, cleanliness, clear dock passageways, security, good lighting, etc.

Boat Fire Safety Handout

  • Use Underwriter's Laboratory (UL) marine-approved cord sets and connections. Do not hook up if you see burn marks or your cord set will not firmly connect.
  • Routinely replace cord sets. Worn or overloaded cord sets and damaged shore power connections are a common cause of fires.
  • Regularly inspect electrical and fuel systems. Have a professional upgrade the wiring to maintain the needs of your navigational equipment and other appliances.
  • Never leave operating electrical equipment, including heaters, unattended. When leaving your boat for any reason, turn portable heaters off.
  • Smoke alarms are important life-saving devices and should be installed in your boat.
  • Plan your escape. Having an escape plan can save your life in an emergency.
  • Have a U.S.C.G. approved fire extinguisher onboard and know how to use it. Fire extinguishers should be mounted near an exit so you are moving toward an exit as you access the extinguisher.
  • Do your part to keep the dock clean and clear. Don't leave engine parts, tools or other equipment on the dock.
  • Properly dispose of oily rags in metal container with a tight-fitting lid. Leaving oily rags wrapped up in a grocery sack is not safe. The chemicals will begin to breakdown the rags, causing heat and possibly a fire.
  • Boat owners must take responsibility for preventing fires on their boats and in the marina. The most common causes of boat fires are: electrical malfunctions, unattended portable heaters and poor housekeeping.