Be Prepared

Be prepared

Have a written plan about what you're going to do if fire breaks out. It'll help you think through the issues you need to consider and prepare for.

  • Make sure fire-fighting equipment is serviced regularly.
  • Read the instructions on how to use the equipment.
  • Make sure fire-fighting equipment is stowed where it can be grabbed in a hurry, that crew know where it is and how to use it, that fuel is stored in appropriate areas, and that good house-keeping is maintained.
  • Plan to assign two crew to tackle the fire so they can back each other up without getting in each others way. Consider having other crew prepare to abandon ship, and others to manoeuvre the vessel to facilitate fire-fighting and safety.
  • Prior to going to sea, brief the crew about safe practices, location and use of fire-fighting equipment, and their roles if fire breaks out.
  • At sea, have a fire drill.


  • Keep flammable material (oily rags, paper) away from engines, galley areas and other ignition sources. Don't smoke in bunks.
  • Check shaft bearings, engine belts, the electrical switchboard and other electrical and mechanical components to ensure they are functioning properly.
  • Make sure fuses and wiring are the correct size to prevent over-heating and short circuits.
  • Minimise the flammable materials, including fuels carried aboard.
  • Make sure gas lines and regulators are in good condition and have a current compliance certificate. Is the gas shut-off easy to access? Do all crew know where it is?
  • Is the metho stove always out when re-fuelling? Take precautions whenever re-fuelling the vessel with petrol and diesel.
    • mobile phones off
    • no smoking
    • earth the nozzle/filler
    • earth the fuel tank
    • isolate power

Minimise risk while at sea

  • Turn off gas when not in use
  • Vent battery boxes
  • Use correct fuses and wiring
  • Keep electrical circuit board and circuits dry
  • Keep gas bottles and outboard fuel containers outside, with fumes draining over the side
  • Don't re-fuel stoves while in use. Keep flammables away from the galley and engine box