Gulfstar catches fire on the Ten-Tom and burns to waterline

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So sad*
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..*Not something anyone would wish on their worst enemy not that we have any..



Elwin*
 
Hate to see anyone lose their boat in this manner. Can't imagine what it must be like to stand there and watch your boat burn. Not that this played any factor in this particular catastrophe, but this is the main reason we stopped conning our boat from the flying bridge. Besides not liking the sight picture from up there, we felt disconnected from the boat. The clincher came when we had an electrical problem with the hailer/intercom unit in the lower helm instrument console. My wife smelled something hot, she "nosed" it to the intercom, and we turned it off. When we removed it from the wooden console later we found the case had melted and the wood next to it was severely scorched. Had we been up top we never would have discovered this in time to turn off the unit before the wood began to burn.

I happened to hear a report on the radio the other day about a little kid here who had the presence of mind to grab a fire extinguisher when an exhaust fan in his house began to smoke. In the interview with the fire department spokesman who talked about the kid's actions, he said that a fire doubles in size every two minutes. Something to think about. I imagine it could be even faster in the fiberglass environment of a boat.
 
"Can't imagine what it must be like to stand there and watch your boat burn."

Most folks cant , that is why they spend thousands on a boat with out DEMANDING an extra 2 or 3c a pound more expensive fire retardant resin be used.

ALL USCG inspected GRP boats that carry over 6 are required to use FR (fire resistant) resin , so the industry can do it , but only by demand.

A hunk of oak has a burn rate of 100 , common GRP resin 500, FR takes it down to 100.

But with additives the burn rate can be 15 (as done in factory ductwork ) .

The possible loss of up to 3% in resin strength is not a problem for designers.
 
It truly is sad to hear of someone who lost everything, but at least they had the ability to ground the boat and get off, that's a smart move.* I've always said that if we were on fire or sinking, my goal is to put the boat so far up the beach that everyone can get off without getting their feet wet. Then I'll call the insurance company.*

I did actually have a boat fire once, it started about 2AM.* Fortunately, we were tied to the dock, so I had options.* It was a steel boat, and a long length of tow line had been coiled up on an extension cord. The cord shorted and started the line burning.* I used every extinguisher on the boat (6 or 7 of them), but I think the only reason the fire went out was because it burned all the line up.* After it burned out, I remembered to check the boundary spaces and discovered the fire was also in the pilot house walls.* The fire ax made short work of the interior wood, and the last extinguisher put out the burning insulation.*

I learned several key things. First is that the minimum number of extinguishers required by the C/G is not enough.* Second is to always have a back up plan.* Had we not been tied to the dock, after the first couple extinguishers my focus would have shifted to getting off the boat rather than saving it.* Third was to always consider all six sides of a space on fire...........Arctic Traveller

*
 
The important point to take away from this is just how quickly a fire on a boat can get out of control. This happens to at least one large yacht someplace in the world every year and the story is nearly always the same ... smelled smoke or got an alarm and before anyone could do anything they were driven off the boat.

A couple of them reported that they thought they had the fire contained but (very very foolishly) decided to open the compartment (usually the engine room) to check and the reflash burned the boat down.

This may come across as Monday morning quarterbacking but in both the Gulfstar and Marin's examples, when evidence of a possible fire was discovered in areas where the only source of ignition was electrical, both operators failed to secure the power at its source. There is no statement saying that the Gulfstar operator did not open the battery switches before trying to access the back of the panel but the result indicates that power was present long enough to start a fire. Turning off power to a piece of equipment with the on/off switch may or may not remove the source of heat. It is a gamble not worth taking. Turn off all power at the source then deal with what is truly a life threatening emergency. Once you have located the problem, then and only then restore power to the circuits which have not been affected.

Until you see the extent to which a fire can progress before there is any evidence it even exists, you may not appreciate just how dangerous a fire on a boat can be. The photograph shows part of the results of a fire on a large yacht that was not even discovered until days later (the boat was enroute to the Med from the Carib) we started tearing out the overhead in an area which we sustpected as the location of some electrical grounds and shorts.
 

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Back in the 80s a friend had a Gulf Star with Perkins diesels.* On the Tennessee River between Nickajack and Scottsboro a high pressure fuel line started spraying a mist of fuel on a hot turbo charger.* (he always ran the boat too hard.* A type A personality should not have a trawler)* The CO2 system activated putting out the fire and shutting down the engine.* That saved the boat.* Diesel fuel is usually safe, but a fine mist contacting a very hot surface is very volitle.
 
RickB wrote:

This may come across as Monday morning quarterbacking but in both the Gulfstar and Marin's examples, when evidence of a possible fire was discovered in areas where the only source of ignition was electrical, both operators failed to secure the power at its source.
Very good point, Rick.* It did not occur to us to turn off the electronics breaker on the DC panel.* It was obvious the smell was coming from the hailer/iintercom but it never occured to us that the cause could have been something other than internal to the hailer.* So turning off the hailer seemed the logical thing to do.* It worked, obviously, but had the cause been something not controlled by the hailer's on-off switch, things could have gotten worse fast.* Thanks for the reminder to go for the source, not just the local evidence.
 
RickB wrote:
This may come across as Monday morning quarterbacking but in both the Gulfstar and Marin's examples, when evidence of a possible fire was discovered in areas where the only source of ignition was electrical, both operators failed to secure the power at its source.

*Turn off all power at the source then deal with what is truly a life threatening emergency. Once you have located the problem, then and only then restore power to the circuits which have not been affected.
*That in a nutshell is the same procedure used in aircraft. Remove all power sources except essential AC/DC until smoke/smell disapates. Remove essential AC/DC if necessary. Restore power one at a time if necessary until smoke/smell re-appears. Meanwhile your partner is looking for a strip of concrete to set it down - ASAP. *

For those of you who run engine room blowers, you might consider shutting them down until the source of the smoke has been determined.*
 
timjet wrote:For those of you who run engine room blowers, you might consider shutting them down until the source of the smoke has been determined.*
*The reason the fire in the photo was not discovered was because the engine room exhaust fans extracted the smoke very efficiently and no one noticed anything amiss.

The boat continued to operate but with systems failing one after the other it*made a beeline*back to the nearest port. Had the trip lasted another hour or ??*the boat*would probably have been lost as the fire spread. The only reason it wasn't lost was because there was little fuel in that location so it was slow to spread.

This*could easily*have been a*nautical version of the Swissair*Flight 111 disaster.*
 
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