Boat Safety Advice: Freeze Protection And Fire Hazard Prevention

Freeze Protection

Xtreme heaters freeze protectionBoat owners are required to winterize engines and freshwater systems, particularly when storing boats on land. In states where temperatures drop significantly, it is crucial to winterize boats on land earlier than those kept in water.

When temperatures drop below freezing, water inside your engine or gear case can lead to a cracked block or housing, resulting in a costly repair bill. However, this can be easily prevented by winterizing your boat's engine correctly at the close of the boating season.

Routine Inspection is Key

It's crucial to inspect all fittings above or below the waterline at least twice each season to prevent water intrusion. Many skippers depend on bilge pumps as a safety net when they're unable to check on their boats, but if the pump fails, the risk of sinking increases significantly.

If you can’t visit your boat regularly, consider using a buddy system with other boat owners to watch each other’s boats. A plastic thru-hull that was an inch or two above the waterline cracked and the weight of the snow lowered the damaged fitting to just below the surface. The boat gradually filled with water and sank.

Fire Hazard Prevention

fire hazard prevention for portable heaters

In the winter, portable heaters are the wrong way to keep your boat from freeze damage. Boat U.S. marine insurance claims files confirm the assessment that the leading causes of winter vessel fires are unattended portable heaters and overtaxed electrical systems. Unattended heaters are easily tipped over by wave movement and other forces.

A couple of January’s ago, a vintage 47-foot Chris Craft caught fire and burned to the waterline at a marina in Gloucester Point, VA. A subsequent investigation found that three portable electric heaters had been left aboard while the boat was unattended. Luckily, the fire occurred in daylight and was discovered before any nearby boats were damaged.That isn’t always the case; there have been instances where entire marinas–including dozens of boats–were devastated after a single boat caught fire.

Never use any portable heater to protect your boat during winter lay-up. Portable electric heaters are one of the leading causes of marina and boat fires and should never be used on a boat. Improper use of electric heaters CAUSES boat fires. Once your boat is burning, it will likely spread to other boats in your shed or storage yard, and can quite possibly burn down the entire marina, resulting in loss of life and significant property damage.
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