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Old 11-28-2017, 12:15 AM   #1
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Safety and Systems Monitoring

Hi all, I'm getting a bit obsessed with the idea of adding some monitoring of systems (some probably overdue) on the boat lately.

I definitely want to add:

- Smoke/fire detector
- Carbon monoxide detector
- High-water alert

First question is, why bother with a fire detector? Wouldn't a smoke detector be better given the fact that smoke almost always precedes fire? Any reason to have both?

Also, I see there are other monitors for the following. Any thoughts on the criticality of monitoring these things?

- Propane
- Exhaust Temp
- Cooling Water Flow
- Low Oil Pressure

I also wonder whether or not the Volvo EVC warns about any of these things out of the box (with the exception of the propane of course).

Lastly, if I get a panel with an audible alert, do you think the panel should be replicated on the flybridge, or is one at the lower helm enough? My assumption is that I'd hear it from the bridge.

Any thoughts or guidance is appreciated. I have been perusing AQUALARM, Warning Systems For Land And Sea and they seem to have a wide array of sensors and panels for this stuff at a reasonable price.

Thanks,
Mike
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Old 11-28-2017, 12:59 AM   #2
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Your Volvo EVC should have warning alarms for low oil pressure, high coolant temperature, maybe coolant flow and exhaust temp as well. Have a look at where the sensors are on your engine.

For a high water alert, I'd recommend putting in a second bilge pump and switch about a foot higher than the existing one. Then just attach a loud $2 buzzer which goes off when the pump is activated. All up it would likely be the same price as a fancy dedicated high water alarm.
99% of the time a high water alarm is caused by a failed bilge switch or pump. In most cases the problem is dealt with rather than just an alarm activated. The alarm then stop when the water level is down to a safe level.
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Old 11-28-2017, 01:05 AM   #3
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Here's my amateur impression of the detectors:

Fire detector rather than smoke detector in the engine spaces because it's a dirty environment...there's little point in putting a smoke detector down there.

Smoke detector in the crew spaces; the greatest likelihood of fire aboard are in the engine spaces and galley.

Carbon monoxide detector in the crew sleeping spaces, may be battery powered or hardwired to ship's power (there are specific requirements regarding how the power supply is switched and fused). Must be marine type meeting UL 2034; residential CO detectors alarm with spot measurements while marine detectors are multi-sampling to prevent frequent alarms for transient detection.

Propane aboard? Yes, definitely add a monitor. Commercial passenger vessels and boats for hire can have gasoline, diesel, coal, wood, kerosene as fuel...yet propane is no bueno. There's a reason for that.

Many modern diesels have pyrometers; the question would be whether to have a guage or an idiot light (alarm).

Low oil pressure and low water flow alarms would both warn the operator of perhaps the only two likely engine failures before catastrophic damage could occur.

My primary bilge pump has a float switch but also has a high water detector next to it that is wired to the alarm panel.

An alarm repeater on the fly bridge? Both my boat and my late father-in-law's boat have mechanical alarm bells (think bank robbery). When that thing rings you can hear it from keel to truck. Your mileage may vary.
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Old 11-28-2017, 01:05 AM   #4
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I have monitors for all the items mentioned. Each one has its own audio alarm system. They are each independent systems. Some are audible both on the fly bridge and at the lower helm. None of these systems are conected to the internet or monitored electronically. For now I have kept it all simple.
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Old 11-28-2017, 01:38 AM   #5
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Safety and Systems Monitoring

For the carbon monoxide detector, there is a Fireboy-Xintex battery operated version that has a 7 year sealed lithium ion battery. Was thinking about buying it even though they have a wired version. Seems simple and 7 years is a decent span of time.

https://www.westmarine.com/buy/fireb...ctor--18379552

As for smoke detectors in the ER, see http://stevedmarineconsulting.com/sp...m_export=print
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Old 11-28-2017, 01:48 AM   #6
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Aus Can,
Having the high bilgewater alarm a foot above the primary is an open invitation to disaster.
I install them about 1 1/2” above normal on level, so that if the primary fails you know about it before there is hundreds of gallons of water in the bilge.
If you wire a secondary pump with the alarm, it still should be placed as low in the bilge as possible, because it will only come on when your primary has failed, and you still need to get that bilge pumped down to normal level!
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Old 11-28-2017, 05:05 AM   #7
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Aus Can,
Having the high bilgewater alarm a foot above the primary is an open invitation to disaster.
I install them about 1 1/2” above normal on level, so that if the primary fails you know about it before there is hundreds of gallons of water in the bilge.
If you wire a secondary pump with the alarm, it still should be placed as low in the bilge as possible, because it will only come on when your primary has failed, and you still need to get that bilge pumped down to normal level!

It all depend on the shape of your bilge. I should have clarified that.
On my boat the bottom 18" of the bilge sump would only hold 5 gallons of water. There is no room for a second pump. My second pump and switch/alarm is out of the sump 18" higher than the primary pump.
On a boat with a flat bottomed bilge, yes - the difference would be minimal.

Shall we say the second pump and switch should be 5 gallons higher?
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Old 11-28-2017, 05:48 AM   #8
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I have the wireless smoke detectors....one in saloon and one in engineroom.

Last year, it sounded a few seconds before a horrible screeching noise from my engiberoom....so I was already throttling down and looking to anchor when I heard the noise.

The noise turned outvto be bits of dampner plate scrubbkng the inside ofvthe bell housing, but they generated enough dust and or smoke to set iff the alarms. I was happy they worked as advertised.

They have been down there for almost 2 years now with no false alarms and several true ones
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Old 11-28-2017, 06:32 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sabre602 View Post
Here's my amateur impression of the detectors:

Fire detector rather than smoke detector in the engine spaces because it's a dirty environment...there's little point in putting a smoke detector down there.

Smoke detector in the crew spaces; the greatest likelihood of fire aboard are in the engine spaces and galley.

Carbon monoxide detector in the crew sleeping spaces, may be battery powered or hardwired to ship's power (there are specific requirements regarding how the power supply is switched and fused). Must be marine type meeting UL 2034; residential CO detectors alarm with spot measurements while marine detectors are multi-sampling to prevent frequent alarms for transient detection.

Propane aboard? Yes, definitely add a monitor. Commercial passenger vessels and boats for hire can have gasoline, diesel, coal, wood, kerosene as fuel...yet propane is no bueno. There's a reason for that.

Many modern diesels have pyrometers; the question would be whether to have a guage or an idiot light (alarm).

Low oil pressure and low water flow alarms would both warn the operator of perhaps the only two likely engine failures before catastrophic damage could occur.

My primary bilge pump has a float switch but also has a high water detector next to it that is wired to the alarm panel.

An alarm repeater on the fly bridge? Both my boat and my late father-in-law's boat have mechanical alarm bells (think bank robbery). When that thing rings you can hear it from keel to truck. Your mileage may vary.

Post #3: "Commercial passenger vessels and boats for hire can have gasoline, diesel, coal, wood, kerosene as fuel...yet propane is no bueno. There's a reason for that."

46CFR184.200 (T boats ... small passenger vessels under 100 tons)



184.202 Restrictions.

(a) The use of gasoline for cooking,

heating, or lighting is prohibited on all

vessels.

(b) Fireplaces or other space heating

equipment with open flames are pro-

hibited from being used on all vessels.

(c) Vessels permitted to use liquefied

and non-liquefied gases as cooking

fuels by 46 CFR part 147 must meet the

requirements in

§

184.240 of this part.

The use of these fuels for cooking,

heating, and lighting on ferry vessels is

prohibited by part 147 in subchapter N

of this chapter.



Subchapter N of 46CFR147.45 provides details on the use of liquid fuels on ferry boats.
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Old 11-28-2017, 06:35 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sabre602 View Post
Here's my amateur impression of the detectors:

Fire detector rather than smoke detector in the engine spaces because it's a dirty environment...there's little point in putting a smoke detector down there.

Smoke detector in the crew spaces; the greatest likelihood of fire aboard are in the engine spaces and galley.

Carbon monoxide detector in the crew sleeping spaces, may be battery powered or hardwired to ship's power (there are specific requirements regarding how the power supply is switched and fused). Must be marine type meeting UL 2034; residential CO detectors alarm with spot measurements while marine detectors are multi-sampling to prevent frequent alarms for transient detection.

Propane aboard? Yes, definitely add a monitor. Commercial passenger vessels and boats for hire can have gasoline, diesel, coal, wood, kerosene as fuel...yet propane is no bueno. There's a reason for that.

Many modern diesels have pyrometers; the question would be whether to have a guage or an idiot light (alarm).

Low oil pressure and low water flow alarms would both warn the operator of perhaps the only two likely engine failures before catastrophic damage could occur.

My primary bilge pump has a float switch but also has a high water detector next to it that is wired to the alarm panel.

An alarm repeater on the fly bridge? Both my boat and my late father-in-law's boat have mechanical alarm bells (think bank robbery). When that thing rings you can hear it from keel to truck. Your mileage may vary.
For general info.....

46CFR184.200 (T boats ... small passenger vessels under 100 tons)



184.202 Restrictions.

(a) The use of gasoline for cooking,

heating, or lighting is prohibited on all

vessels.

(b) Fireplaces or other space heating

equipment with open flames are pro-

hibited from being used on all vessels.

(c) Vessels permitted to use liquefied

and non-liquefied gases as cooking

fuels by 46 CFR part 147 must meet the

requirements in

§

184.240 of this part.

The use of these fuels for cooking,

heating, and lighting on ferry vessels is

prohibited by part 147 in subchapter N

of this chapter.



Subchapter N of 46CFR147.45 provides details on the use of liquid fuels on ferry boats.
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Old 11-28-2017, 08:30 AM   #11
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Pardon my ignorance, but what is a fire detector?

I'm aware of:
  • Smoke detectors. Trips an alarm.
  • Fixed temperature detectors. A set temperature trips the alarm / can release extinguishing agent.
  • "Rate of rise" detectors. When the temp goes up too fast it trips the alarm / can release extinguishing agent.
If you have the room and budget all three are best. Rate of rise are designed to trip before fixed temp is reached. But if the rise is too slow may not catch a fire condition. I think there are combination fixed and rate of rise sensors available.

If you want to build a customized system to suit your needs and don't need the latest high tech Murphy makes an easy to wire alarm panel. Accepts normally open and normally closed sensors. Repeater panels can be added.

Murphy ST10AS-LM
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Old 11-28-2017, 08:33 AM   #12
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They have been down there for almost 2 years now with no false alarms and several true ones
“several true ones”. Yikes!
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Old 11-28-2017, 08:40 AM   #13
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In my experience, you should duplicate any alarms for the flybridge. You may not hear them from the flybridge if they are only sounding at the lower helm.

As for CO detectors, the sensor has a fixed life so even if you have an installed hard wired detector, you should check the label for the expiration date.
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Old 11-28-2017, 08:50 AM   #14
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Wait a sec, what?! An open flame isnt allowed? What about if the flame is internal but visible? Like in a Newport Dickinson propane heater, that many of us have and I want.
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Old 11-28-2017, 09:25 AM   #15
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Wait a sec, what?! An open flame isnt allowed? What about if the flame is internal but visible? Like in a Newport Dickinson propane heater, that many of us have and I want.
Commercial vessels or if your insurance company says no.
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Old 11-28-2017, 09:26 AM   #16
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“several true ones”. Yikes!
2x for dampner plate and once forgot to replace oil fill cap.
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Old 11-28-2017, 11:46 AM   #17
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If you are asking about propane, then I presume you have propane on the boat for cooking and/or grilling? Assuming you do, then yes, you should have CO detectors in the living spaces since the propane will be the only possible source of CO. With no propane (and no gasoline engines) then I don't think a CO detector is necessary.

And if you have propane, are you saying that Beneteau built the boat without a propane detection and shutoff system? That would be surprising.
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Old 11-28-2017, 12:29 PM   #18
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“With no propane (and no gasoline engines) then I don't think a CO detector is necessary.”
One would think....However I ran a charter boat with 2 good clean running GM gassers. Would start the boat and boats on the other side of the dock would have their CO alarms go off. One guy would come out screaming at me. Lol.
CO has a way of finding its way into other people’s cabins.
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Old 11-28-2017, 12:35 PM   #19
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...Subchapter N of 46CFR147.45 provides details on the use of liquid fuels on ferry boats.
To clarify, the fuels I mentioned include those used to power the vessel, not just for heating and cooking. The gist was meant to be that propane carries properties that make it especially hazardous when used on a ship or boat. Can it be used safely? Of course. Are the consequences of a leak potentially catastrophic? Yup.
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Old 11-28-2017, 12:46 PM   #20
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But you were clearly off base with asumptions of open flames and propane....etc.... when it came to regulations.

Just keeping the facts straight here....

Boating without fuels carries its own set of serious hazards....no need to blow things out of proportion.
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