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Old 04-06-2020, 07:06 PM   #1
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Fire Access Port to engine room in Taiwan Trawler

Have a 1977 37' Europa style with a Single Lehman 120. Recently got an insurance survey that recommended an ER fire suppression system. Said an option would be a Fire Hole/Port


Has anyone with a Taiwan Trawler dealt with this issue? I would enjoy hearing your solutions. DIY is preferable and costs is a concern, so a lower cost solution to the problem if it exists...would be nice.


Is there a good location for a Fire Port since the Galley area is over the engine room? Where should it point in the ER?


And what solutions are there for DIY installing a suppression system?


Thanks in advance for your feedback.
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Old 04-06-2020, 07:42 PM   #2
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If your boat is laid out similar to mine then the access would be in the companion way to the forward cabin behind the steps.

You would then want to use a CO2 extinguisher at that port. Since the theory is to eliminate the oxygen in the engine room then where it points doesn't matter. You need an extinguisher that is large enough to fill the engine room with CO2. CO2 being heaver then air would sink to the bottom of the engine room and push the oxygen out of the room vents. More exotic systems will also shut down the engines where a fire is detected. That is where you would come in.
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Old 04-06-2020, 08:35 PM   #3
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Thank you that makes all the sense.
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Old 04-07-2020, 06:35 PM   #4
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I've been looking at something similar, although my recent survey didn't mention an engine room FE system. I have lots of electrical behind the lower helm and fairly simple access to the engine room from behind the stairs leading to the forward V berth. If those areas had a FE access port, a single CO2 or non-corrosive FE could be used through either portal.

The CO2 FE that I've seen have a hose with a large "horn" on them that couldn't be easily put through a portal less than about 5 inches. Some of the non-corrosive fire extinguishers have a snub nose "no hose pistol" that looks like it would be difficult to shoot through a portal. I imagine both of them freeze on discharge and you would need to make sure that you don't get frostbite trying to shoot through a portal.

Is there a preferred type of extinguisher for this? Does anybody make a commercially available portal for just this purpose?

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Old 04-07-2020, 06:47 PM   #5
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I told my insurance company an installed fire suppression system with engine shutdown and ventilation shutters would be impractical to engineer and cost too much on an old boat.

They agreed.

A simple screw or pop out port to the engine room is easy if you have access under a stair (common) or again like many, cracking a hatch would be the same if it allows direct spray into the engine room.
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Old 04-07-2020, 07:06 PM   #6
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Almost any marine supply store carries fire ports. Here is one at Defender .
They run anywhere from $10 to $20 . https://www.defender.com/product3.js...396&id=2555630
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Old 04-07-2020, 07:09 PM   #7
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I told my insurance company an installed fire suppression system with engine shutdown and ventilation shutters would be impractical to engineer and cost too much on an old boat.

They agreed.

A simple screw or pop out port to the engine room is easy if you have access under a stair (common) or again like many, cracking a hatch would be the same if it allows direct spray into the engine room.
Under stair installation of a Fire Port is ideal but not always practical. Problem is that a FE that works through a fire port must have a hose long enough for the extinguisher to be held in a vertical position.
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Old 04-07-2020, 07:47 PM   #8
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I have never heard of a "Fire Hole" before. I guess I understand the idea. If I ever suspected an engine room fire the very first thing I would do is grab my Halon extinguisher, Then I would open an engine hatch. If I saw fire I would empty my extinguisher into the engine room.

I don't think I would have presence of mind to think it beyond hitting the fire with Halon. I just don't forsee myself thinking "OK engine room fire, close up the hatch and stick the extinguisher through my fire hole"

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Old 04-07-2020, 08:05 PM   #9
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I have never heard of a "Fire Hole" before. I guess I understand the idea. If I ever suspected an engine room fire the very first thing I would do is grab my Halon extinguisher, Then I would open an engine hatch. If I saw fire I would empty my extinguisher into the engine room.

I don't think I would have presence of mind to think it beyond hitting the fire with Halon. I just don't forsee myself thinking "OK engine room fire, close up the hatch and stick the extinguisher through my fire hole"

pete
Opening the engine hatch is the worst thing you can do. The added oxygen will feed the fire and expose the living quarters to fire.

PS. "Fire Port" not "Fire Hole".
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Old 04-07-2020, 08:35 PM   #10
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[QUOTE=boatpoker;864972]Opening the engine hatch is the worst thing you can do. The added oxygen will feed the fire and expose the living quarters to fire.

Maybe so, but it will still give you the opportunity to hit the fire with an extinguisher, and if caught early, the fire can be put out.

The time it would take to use a fire port in the door that is behind the galley stairs is going to be much longer than the time to simply lift the floor hatch enough to slip the Fire extinguisher nozzle in and let fly.

The location of the fire port would also be a critical factor. the door hidden behind the galley steps in a 45 ft boat, is close to 20 ft from the bulkhead behind the engines, and up to 10 feet from the front of the engines. If the fire is on or around the engines, the floor hatches are going to be much closer, so will allow a more focused attack.
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Old 04-07-2020, 08:46 PM   #11
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[QUOTE=koliver;864988]
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Originally Posted by boatpoker View Post
Opening the engine hatch is the worst thing you can do. The added oxygen will feed the fire and expose the living quarters to fire.

Maybe so, but it will still give you the opportunity to hit the fire with an extinguisher, and if caught early, the fire can be put out.

The time it would take to use a fire port in the door that is behind the galley stairs is going to be much longer than the time to simply lift the floor hatch enough to slip the Fire extinguisher nozzle in and let fly.

The location of the fire port would also be a critical factor. the door hidden behind the galley steps in a 45 ft boat, is close to 20 ft from the bulkhead behind the engines, and up to 10 feet from the front of the engines. If the fire is on or around the engines, the floor hatches are going to be much closer, so will allow a more focused attack.


Can't account for improper placement of a fire port but my training in Fire Prevention and Fire Fighting – STCW ADVANCED FIREFIGHTING - MARI 0185 suggests that you are wrong on all counts.
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Old 04-09-2020, 12:30 PM   #12
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Almost any marine supply store carries fire ports. Here is one at Defender .
They run anywhere from $10 to $20 . https://www.defender.com/product3.js...396&id=2555630
Thanks. I guess I've been walking down the wrong isles at the chandlery. Looks like it has a clear plastic "break in case of fire" cover? Another brand looks like it has a spring loaded opening. I like the idea of a clear port and spring loaded.

It would be strange to have a 6" flush fixed port hole in the cabin floor, but I could see where it would be nice to get a peek at what's going on in the ER without lifting a hatch. Maybe a peek window and a couple FE ports.

I recently had an ER smoke detector go off because the hot water heater pressure valve put out a puff of steam (need to fix that). I lifted a hatch with the fire extinguisher in the other hand only to learn that the "non-fire" was under the aft hatch. I couldn't have shot it from where I was. Got me to thinking that there might be a better way.
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Old 04-09-2020, 12:59 PM   #13
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Watertight bulkheads and an escape pod would be good too. All you need is enough of a delay to get off, unless you are crossing oceans. Tell the surveyor to pound sand.
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Old 04-11-2020, 11:11 PM   #14
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I don't have a large engine room and I took out an old unit and will be replacing/adding one of these: https://www.westmarine.com/buy/fireb...24?recordNum=2
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Old 04-12-2020, 06:46 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Pete Meisinger View Post
I have never heard of a "Fire Hole" before. I guess I understand the idea. If I ever suspected an engine room fire the very first thing I would do is grab my Halon extinguisher, Then I would open an engine hatch. If I saw fire I would empty my extinguisher into the engine room.

I don't think I would have presence of mind to think it beyond hitting the fire with Halon. I just don't forsee myself thinking "OK engine room fire, close up the hatch and stick the extinguisher through my fire hole"

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Old 04-12-2020, 07:22 AM   #16
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Please do not think that you can safely open any hatch door of an engine room with an established fire and simply "spray and pray" with the puny fire extinguisher on your boat. The fire will laugh at you and then burn you down all the faster. Automated systems with an alarm to announce their activation, whether or not you add the engine shut-down feature, are more likely to give you a fighting chance at staying afloat. I added such a system to my 1972 Grand Banks back in the late 1980s, and it was a simple DIY project. My current boat came fully equipped with the bottle, alarm, and engine shut-down switching system. I go the extra step with a Halatrol extinguisher next to my helm for electrical fires in that area because the powder FE can ruin ALL the wiring it come into contact with making the repair a far more costly issue.
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Old 04-12-2020, 09:49 AM   #17
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I'd never heard of a Fire Port before. It makes sense. I might replace the brass port light in my engine room door with one of those.
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Old 04-17-2020, 02:07 PM   #18
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What is the volume of the engine room? Seems unusual that a fire port and portable extinguisher is being recommended if it's an engine room rather than a small engine compartment, you'll almost certainly need a very large, by portable standards, extinguisher.

Typically, you'd use a permanently installed, auto/manual extinguisher (I'd recommend an FM 200 system, which by the way is also available in portable, and safer than CO2, although you need more of it to cover the same volume when compared to CO2, CO2 is not readily available nor is it recommended for fixed yacht systems).

Fire ports are usually reserved for small engine compartments and motor boxes.

More on fixed systems here
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Old 04-17-2020, 04:59 PM   #19
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Fire ports

Seems to me that fire ports are a good ideaómultiple ones might work also..one over the engine, one over the gen set, etc..
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Old 04-17-2020, 07:33 PM   #20
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My boat had a small extinguisher mounted to the firewall when I got it...it was full of halon... very dangerous so I got rid of it. The extinguisher had one of those heat sensitive star wheels on it so in case of fire iT would go off automatically...I have not replaced it but that’s what I’d look for if I do...
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