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Old 11-24-2017, 05:27 PM   #1
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Fire Extinguisher in the Engine Room of the ST44

With the recent ST44 fire in Fort Myers, I've been thinking about fire protection in general. Wondering if anyone knows if the extinguisher in the ER in the ST44 is automatic or only manual. My assumption is that I would need to pull the handle located at the tread of the stairs, but now that I am thinking about it, I wonder if that extinguisher is automatic and that the pull is just for backup.

Either way, it would be good to know!

Thanks,
Mike
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Old 11-24-2017, 07:35 PM   #2
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I believe that my ST44 (2014 build) is NOT automatic.
But I am going to look a little closer to see if a sensor is present in engine room or on extinguisher(s)
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Old 11-24-2017, 07:37 PM   #3
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PS - Fire was 1 of the MANY reasons we installed a life raft
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Old 11-24-2017, 10:15 PM   #4
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I couldn't get close to the fire system in my survey the other week due to an injury but it looked like there may have been a pin in? I am guessing that needs to be removed..

Is there a way to activate the fire suppression from the fly bridge?

I may install cameras in the engine room - any thoughts as to how many and what they should be aimed at?
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Old 11-24-2017, 10:19 PM   #5
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Not sure about cameras, but I may install a fire/smoke detector in the ER with remote alarm.

As for the pin, yes, definitely remove it. Why Beneteau doesn't ensure these are removed is beyond me.

As far as I know, you can only trigger the extinguisher from the location on the stair tread. Seems like an awful location as you'd need to potentially pass through a cabin full of smoke to pull it.
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Old 11-25-2017, 04:12 AM   #6
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When I had an insurance survey done on my ST42, they dinged me for not having an "automatic" fire suppression system and required that I have the system inspected.

We called in a company to inspect (and tag) the extinguishers and they refused to tag the extinguishers installed. They gave us a quote of $8,000 to install a new system (monitors over each engine, alarm panel, new Halotron non-powder extinguishers, engine/blower shutoffs). I thought they were just trying to sell me a new system, so waited and had another company check it.

I got pretty much the same answer. They did remove, weight and inspect the bottles, and tagged them. But said that they were tagging them as "handhelds", not as a "fire suppression system". They also confirmed for me that there is a fusible link on mine so that if they got sufficient heat, it would deploy on their own.

Seems Beneteau installs BC Powder extinguishers which are:
a) too small for the engine room given that the engines and blowers are running and will pull the stuff into the engine and out of the engine compartment
b) according to the fire extinguisher guy, diesel engines are required to have a shutdown switch to turn the engine off before the extinguisher deploys.
c) if only one goes off there is not enough agent in it to have much effect (if you pull them, pull both!)
d) if they do go off, the caustic dry powder will pretty much trash the engines (better than burning I guess).
e) the pull cables get stiff and corroded. (when they had the bottles disconnected they pulled the cables on my boat, and it took a LOT of force the first few times until they loosed up. I'd probably have given up on a manual deployment attempt.)

For the short term (recovering from the purchase) I have installed smoke/fire detectors that are networked (Kiddie RF-SM-DC, I put one in the engine room, one in each berth, one in the salon (over the electrical panel), one down in the lazarette, and one up on the flybridge under the bench seat so that I can hear if they go off.

They work pretty well, as my engine room detector was right over the starboard turbocharger/exhaust and it detected a small exhaust leak. It would go off anytime I went from higher RPM to slower rapidly (coming down off plane to avoid waking someone).

Longer term, I'm looking at having a Fireboy system installed. I'd hoped that Beneteau fixed this issue with the new ST44's but I guess not. Bummer!
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Old 11-25-2017, 09:42 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KSF View Post
...We called in a company to inspect (and tag) the extinguishers and they refused to tag the extinguishers installed. They gave us a quote of $8,000 to install a new system (monitors over each engine, alarm panel, new Halotron non-powder extinguishers, engine/blower shutoffs)...
The $8,000 seems high. A 500 cubic foot MA2 Series from Fisheries is $1,500. A five circuit, 12volt Automatic Engine Shutdown with display is $380. Add another $600 for additional sensors parts, etc. and that leaves $5,500 for labor. At $125/hour 44 hours to install? I may not have the part numbers right but I think I'm close and the prices from Fisheries are ~retail. I'd talk to someone else or install it your self. It's not a complicated system.

https://www.fisheriessupply.com/fire...fc-227ea-agent

https://www.fisheriessupply.com/fire...stem-es-series
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Old 11-25-2017, 10:40 AM   #8
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Wow, I am surprised. Mainship who used to compete with Beneteau in this market has installed automatic engine room fire suppression systems since at least 2003.

I wouldn't have anything else. Although the new chemicals that trash your engine are a bit scary. What if the sensor fails and goes off? It must have a very low positive failure rate. I guess that is a risk you live with to have a safe boat.

David
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Old 11-26-2017, 04:54 PM   #9
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So if smoke was pouring out of the engine room, aside from panicking, what would the proper set of actions be for the ST44?

Here is a complete guess:

1) Shut the battery connections off to the engine, which will also turn the blowers off.

2) Pull ALL the t-handles in the stair tread to cutoff fuel to engines and to trigger extinguisher.

Thoughts?
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Old 11-26-2017, 06:45 PM   #10
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When it comes to fire protection, don't skimp. Have it professionally installed by someone certified for the installation.
IF there is a ER fire, shut the ignition, this should shut the fuel off to the engine.
Also, do not open the engine compartment until things cool down. You do not want a re-ignition.
You sure don't burn up at sea.
Rather than sit in a raft or your dingy, with a good fire control you can sit on the boat waiting for rescue, complaining about the $6000 system that worked.
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Old 11-26-2017, 07:04 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by MichaelB1969 View Post
So if smoke was pouring out of the engine room, aside from panicking, what would the proper set of actions be for the ST44?

Here is a complete guess:

1) Shut the battery connections off to the engine, which will also turn the blowers off.

2) Pull ALL the t-handles in the stair tread to cutoff fuel to engines and to trigger extinguisher.

Thoughts?
DO NOT open the engine compartment until things cool down. You do not want a re-ignition with the sudden introduction of air/oxygen.
Call for assistance!!!!
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Old 11-26-2017, 08:57 PM   #12
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Good summary by KSF.

Powder based extinguishers may work fairly good, but they can create a major mess. No one uses them in high value shore based industrial applications.
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Old 12-02-2017, 12:08 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by KSF View Post

For the short term (recovering from the purchase) I have installed smoke/fire detectors that are networked (Kiddie RF-SM-DC, I put one in the engine room, one in each berth, one in the salon (over the electrical panel), one down in the lazarette, and one up on the flybridge under the bench seat so that I can hear if they go off.

They work pretty well, as my engine room detector was right over the starboard turbocharger/exhaust and it detected a small exhaust leak. It would go off anytime I went from higher RPM to slower rapidly (coming down off plane to avoid waking someone).

Longer term, I'm looking at having a Fireboy system installed. I'd hoped that Beneteau fixed this issue with the new ST44's but I guess not. Bummer!
Hi KSF,

I may do the same (install detectors in the bilge areas). Any idea if Photoelectric or Ionization is better for detecting an engine room fire? Or is having both ideal? Are there any other types in a marine application that should be considered? I am torn between doing what you did and installing the portable ones versus installing something hardwired. Is a heat sensor necessary if there is a smoke/fire detector?

On my previous boat, I had one dual ionization/photoelectric, a Nest protect (for remote alerts which was important if I was leaving my dog on-board), AND the OEM hardwired one in the cabin. I am planning to get a Siren Marine system (or similar) so I can get remote alerts about high water, AC electricity, battery levels, GPS movement, and was hoping to add something for smoke/fire.

Also, since I already have one CCTV camera (for backing up, view of swim platform), it looks like I have a few spots for additional cameras. I plan to install in bilge area but if I have only three slots open, I am going to have to figure out how to position one in the engine room, one in the generator compartment, and one in the lazarette.
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Old 12-02-2017, 02:38 PM   #14
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Hi KSF,

I may do the same (install detectors in the bilge areas). Any idea if Photoelectric or Ionization is better for detecting an engine room fire? Or is having both ideal? Are there any other types in a marine application that should be considered? I am torn between doing what you did and installing the portable ones versus installing something hardwired. Is a heat sensor necessary if there is a smoke/fire detector?

On my previous boat, I had one dual ionization/photoelectric, a Nest protect (for remote alerts which was important if I was leaving my dog on-board), AND the OEM hardwired one in the cabin. I am planning to get a Siren Marine system (or similar) so I can get remote alerts about high water, AC electricity, battery levels, GPS movement, and was hoping to add something for smoke/fire.

Also, since I already have one CCTV camera (for backing up, view of swim platform), it looks like I have a few spots for additional cameras. I plan to install in bilge area but if I have only three slots open, I am going to have to figure out how to position one in the engine room, one in the generator compartment, and one in the lazarette.
I recently contacted Aqualarm about their detectors and which was better (fire vs. smoke, or both) and if it helps, here is their response:

"The fire detector is better because it has a rate of rise feature that will detect temperature rising rapidly before there is a big problem. However , using both is a good idea. sometimes there are situations that cause smoke long before the fire breaks out, such as melting wires that would not raise the temperature but would indicate that a fire is possible.Vice Versa, there are situations that the fire will start before there is any smoke (such as a gas fire)."

I plan on getting one of their smokes and one fire and installing in the ER. I will install two of these panels (lower helm and bridge):

20278 Fire and Smoke Warning Panel, 12 Volt [] - $46.00 : AQUALARM, Warning Systems For Land And Sea

I may also install their 3 compartment high water alarm panel:

20361 Three Compartment Bilge Warning Panel [] - $46.00 : AQUALARM, Warning Systems For Land And Sea

With their associated detectors:

20120 Bilge Water Level Detector. 12v.24v.32v [] - $39.00 : AQUALARM, Warning Systems For Land And Sea

I may also think about upgrading my bilge pumps as well (or more likely leaving the stock ones in place and adding additional capacity).

Lastly, going to buy an analog CCTV dome camera for the ER and plug it into the Raymarine plotter. Something like this:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LWMXKY6...YGZDKS53&psc=1
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Old 12-02-2017, 02:50 PM   #15
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BTW, a friend installed 3 new Jabsco bilge pumps (bow, ER and lazarette) in his ST44 along with high-water alarms. Here are some pics.
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Old 12-02-2017, 04:10 PM   #16
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BTW, a friend installed 3 new Jabsco bilge pumps (bow, ER and lazarette) in his ST44 along with high-water alarms. Here are some pics.
Do you know what model Jabsco pump? How many GPH? I do think the existing pumps are lacking on this boat. Did your friend drill any holes for the additional pump outputs? I.e. was the bow routed to a new thru-hull in the bow? Does hge have the control panels/switches at both helm stations? Thank you!
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Old 12-02-2017, 05:17 PM   #17
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Do you know what model Jabsco pump? How many GPH? I do think the existing pumps are lacking on this boat. Did your friend drill any holes for the additional pump outputs? I.e. was the bow routed to a new thru-hull in the bow? Does hge have the control panels/switches at both helm stations? Thank you!
He has (3) of the following:

https://www.defender.com/pdf/500725_Jabsco.pdf

They are each 480 GPH. Not sure about the thr-hull. I can ask.

As for the controls, they are only in the lower helm. From what I can gather from Aqualarm, the alerts are pretty loud. I'd imagine in the Swift you'd hear it from the bridge. I'd probably install the bilge pump controls at the lower helm only, and the high-water alerts at both stations.
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Old 12-02-2017, 05:27 PM   #18
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Do you know what model Jabsco pump? How many GPH? I do think the existing pumps are lacking on this boat. Did your friend drill any holes for the additional pump outputs? I.e. was the bow routed to a new thru-hull in the bow? Does hge have the control panels/switches at both helm stations? Thank you!
He added new thu-hulls about 12" above waterline for each of the pumps.
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Old 12-02-2017, 06:30 PM   #19
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When I added additional bilge pumps to my previous boat, I alternated the sides of discharge..... if the boat began to heel, I want some of the discharge above the water.
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Old 12-02-2017, 06:54 PM   #20
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When I added additional bilge pumps to my previous boat, I alternated the sides of discharge..... if the boat began to heel, I want some of the discharge above the water.
Makes sense! I'll keep that in mind. Thx.
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