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Old 11-22-2017, 04:54 PM   #1
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Swift 44 fire YIKES

This is freaking me out. Would love to know what happened!

VIDEO: Florida family jumps from burning boat in Gulf, rescued by ferry | WDTN
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Old 11-22-2017, 05:40 PM   #2
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Wow.....glad they are OK
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Old 11-22-2017, 06:13 PM   #3
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Ouch! Glad everyone is OK! Would love to know what happened as well as I just bought the same model..
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Old 11-22-2017, 07:34 PM   #4
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I am going to guess, and say a fire in the engine room. A good reason to have an auto suppression system down there, even though its not required per USCG regs.
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Old 11-28-2017, 03:48 AM   #5
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First order of the day, put davits on your swim deck and mount the dinghy there or get a life raft. Those people were lucky! Also get an epirb!
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Old 11-28-2017, 02:16 PM   #6
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Very lucky indeed. They were heading from KW to South Seas Resort on Captiva. I was there last week, and the kids in the marina office told me about it. In the middle of that crossing there is usually nothing and no one around for 40-50 miles. The KW Express is often the only boat. They were just super lucky to not be floating for hours...water was 74 last week. That's actually not very comfortable.
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Old 11-28-2017, 02:29 PM   #7
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That ferry only runs a few times a day. they were very lucky.
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Old 11-28-2017, 02:55 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Joebad View Post
First order of the day, put davits on your swim deck and mount the dinghy there or get a life raft. Those people were lucky! Also get an epirb!
One of the first upgrades I made before heading outside the Golden Gate Bridge was a liferaft and EPIRB!
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Old 11-28-2017, 03:21 PM   #9
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Does that boat come with gas engines or only diesel ?
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Old 11-28-2017, 03:34 PM   #10
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Only diesel
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Old 11-28-2017, 08:45 PM   #11
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Thanks
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Old 11-29-2017, 06:44 AM   #12
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Anyone know what happened? Where the fire started? Volvo D4 or D6 does not have any dry exhaust that I know of.

Did they leave it there and did it finish burning and sink?

I was involved in one ST44 (think it was a 44) that had an electrical fire, but it was isolated to the transom at the shore power connection. Would not have been in play while under way.
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Old 11-29-2017, 06:58 AM   #13
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Its a short video guess.....much like a guess from one picture about most things....

The smoke seems very light in color to be a fuel enriched or a fully engulfed section of the fiberglass.

Someone else pointed that out to me too.

Once the resin/glass starts, usually the smoke is much darker.......but in this video, it is short and I didnt see the upper sections of the smoke plume.

This almost looks like it is still interior furnishings and coverings.
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Old 11-29-2017, 07:16 AM   #14
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I'd figure someone on the ferry with a phone would have shot more video. In this age a fender bender at Walmart attracts about 15 phone videos.

The light colored smoke is puzzling. Most boat fires end up releasing dark smoke. But might be a trick due to angle of the sun. With the sun behind you, even dark smoke may appear light.

Not sure we will find out any more on this. Shame, as it could have some important lessons for all of us.
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Old 11-29-2017, 09:50 PM   #15
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I'd figure someone on the ferry with a phone would have shot more video. In this age a fender bender at Walmart attracts about 15 phone videos.

The light colored smoke is puzzling. Most boat fires end up releasing dark smoke. But might be a trick due to angle of the sun. With the sun behind you, even dark smoke may appear light.

Not sure we will find out any more on this. Shame, as it could have some important lessons for all of us.


I certainly plan on hearing more about it. I've been in touch with Beneteau corporate and they heard about it minutes after it happened. They said they are looking into it. I'll let you know once I hear from them.
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Old 11-30-2017, 06:15 AM   #16
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Thanks MichaelB1969, please let us know what Beneteau comes back with!

I have an ST42 but am interested as well. More than a few of the underway fires that I've read about in diesel boats (and trucks) are turbocharger related. Overheating, exploding, oil leaks that catch fire, etc.

Given where that ST44 was, I'd expect that they had been running at high RPM cruising along for a while.

When cruising, especially at higher RPM for longer periods, I pop into the engine room every couple of hours with a temperature gun and do some cross checking just for peace of mind. When I took my "Ask Captain Chris" boat systems class, he suggested doing this and I found that my temp gauge at the helm is off by about 5 degrees low on port.

I take readings from both engines: Transmission, Exhaust Manifold, Turbo, Top of Engine, Middle near the injectors, Oil Pan. I can also read the starboard alternator without going down between the engines so I check that as well. The two engines typically only vary by about 3-4 degrees point to point.

My base temps on the top of the engines, injectors, and exhaust manifold run around 145 - 150 degrees, alternators 130, oil pan runs 150 - 160 degrees, and top of the turbo runs 170 - 180 degrees. So the turbo is the hottest item on the engine.

I did this a few times on a couple of day trips to get the averages at both high and low rpm for extended periods. Interestingly I found only about a 5 degree difference running at 1200 RPM for two hours and running at 2800 RPM for two hours. I keep a little cheat sheet on the engine room hatch so that when I read, I can quickly compare.

Note: If you are going to check your temps underway, I suggest spending a little extra and getting a good quality infrared temperature gun that has a high optical resolution like 10:1 or 12:1. This will give you a small reading area so you can shoot from the engine room hatch at a distance, rather than climbing into the engine room while underway.

I use an Etekcity Lasergrip 630 that has a 12:1 or 8:1 adjustable. Very happy with it. Got it from Amazon for $26.00. This replaced the Harbor Freight $8 gun that I wanted to chuck overboard (but just put in the trash to follow my garbage plan).

A couple of other interesting experiments with your temp gun are:

Confirm fuel level in the tanks. My fuel gauges were not working for a while, so after running for an hour or two I could shoot the side of the tanks (visible in my engine room) and see where the fuel level was. The hot diesel re-circulating back into the tanks was measurably warmer when reading the tank walls so I could get a good eyeball on the fuel level.

Also, check the temps about 5 minutes after you turn off the engines. They spike for a few minutes after cooling water stops circulating. The block on mine get's up to about 180 degrees. Not sure it this has any meaning, but I found it intresting. It feeds my inner Geek!
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Old 11-30-2017, 07:26 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fletcher500 View Post
I am going to guess, and say a fire in the engine room. A good reason to have an auto suppression system down there, even though its not required per USCG regs.
There are 2 fixed fire extinguishers in the engine room, which are designed to trigger automatically or with manual pull-cables. When we bought our ST 44, new in 2012, I found that the pins had not been removed from the extinguishers, so I removed them. I'm unsure if these pins would keep them from discharging.
I'm nearby and will ask around about this incident.
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Old 11-30-2017, 08:06 AM   #18
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Absolutely the pins must be pulled. Because you posted it I went down and pulled the pins thanks to you!!!
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Old 11-30-2017, 08:19 AM   #19
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Speaking of wild a$$ guesses, common questions by diesel boat fire investigators "what was recent electrical system maintenance, where do you store your dinghy gas can and tell us about your propane systems." Or a hung starter, bad 110 ground if genset was running, miswired inverter, yada yada.

Know of a Selene that had a grounding system issue at the stern thruster location and boat was nearly lost by fire during commissioning. No matter what, great to see all bailed out into warmish water.
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Old 11-30-2017, 10:40 AM   #20
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Hung starters are bad juju. Seen a couple that were very close to causing fires. But that boat was well into its trip, hung starter fires usually within 15min of a start.
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