Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 05-11-2017, 02:06 PM   #1
Veteran Member
City: Boston
Country: USA
Join Date: Apr 2017
Posts: 30
Fiberglass versus steel in fire resistance

I have seen some pretty scary videos concerning the flammability of fiberglass. Are steel boats a much safer fire risk than fiberglass boats, or is it a minor difference?

jsc7 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-11-2017, 02:37 PM   #2
psneeld's Avatar
City: AICW
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Freedom
Vessel Model: Albin 40
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 19,980
Depends on the boat and all the installed systems and materials.

psneeld is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-11-2017, 02:57 PM   #3
City: Hotel, CA
Country: Fried
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 8,324
Yes and no. The dangers of vehicle fires in the more broad sense is the paint, soft goods and "bolt ons" if you will.

Steel hulls and superstructures (properly built and protected) tend to be a more recognizable shape but will still lean toward a total loss. Fiberglass boats like FF's Uniflite "Lucy" (for sale btw) can be built to a fire resistant resin specs.

As is always the case the devil is in the details.

It's easier to fool people than to convince them that they've been fooled - Mark Twain
CPseudonym is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-11-2017, 06:42 PM   #4
High Wire's Avatar
City: Cape May, NJ and Englewood, FL
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Irish Lady
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 2,807
Either way, at about the 3 minute point of a fire, the interior of the boat will be trashed by flame and smoke. Small advantage to the steel boat that may better resist flames traveling through the cabin bulkheads.
1984 Monk 36 Hull #46
Currently southbound in South Carolina.
High Wire is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-12-2017, 06:28 AM   #5
FF's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 19,732
OAK has a USCG burn rate of 100 .

Std GRP has a burn rate of 500 .

FR resin for the USCG and military has a burn rate of 100.

With a slight loss of strength (-2%) FR resin can be had at a burn rate of 10.

This is used for ducts in factories.

The hassle with FR resin although it is self extinguishing , the resin when burned can be poisonous to breath..

The usual cost difference when I was building boats was 2c a pound.

Like most items on a boat, if the first owner does not demand it , its not there.
FF is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-12-2017, 12:17 PM   #6
DHeckrotte's Avatar
City: Philadelphia, PA
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Revel
Vessel Model: 1984 Fu Hwa 39
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 999
As noted above, the 'fire load' is the real issue. That is, the stuff on board that burns. Same as in buildings. The interest in fire resistance of the structure has more to do with the safety of the occupants than in the structure itself. The time ratings given to structural components are for the amount of time you have to escape or to fight the fire. The ratings are determined by standard tests and thus may bear little resemblance to performance 'in the field' (maintenance, installation, etc.)

Fire safety has infinitely more to do with design and installation of components, maintenance, storage, care by the occupants than it does in the material of the structure.

DHeckrotte is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:15 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.0
Copyright 2006 - 2012