The United States Coast Guard has issued a Marine Safety Alert in response to a number of recent fires aboard Small Passenger Vessels operating in U.S. waters. The bulletin’s insights are intended to provide industry personnel and safety managers with reminders of best practices which, when incorporated, can assist in the prevention of fires onboard vessels.
Fire can spread swiftly aboard small passenger vessels due to their compact design and the presence of combustible materials. Many boats utilize a combination of wood, fiberglass, and other flammable substances in their construction. Compared to larger ships, these vessels typically have smaller cabins, narrow passageways, and limited emergency exits. In the event of a fire, the restricted spaces can become rapidly engulfed in smoke and flames, making it challenging for passengers and crew to evacuate safely. And unlike larger vessels which have well-equipped fire teams and ample firefighting equipment, small passenger vessels typically have fewer resources and crew members rarely receive formal firefighting training.
Given the risk presented by fire on any ship, it is critical for owners and operators to identify and mitigate risk whenever possible. This bulletin identifies fire hazards discovered recently during fire investigations conducted by the Coast Guard and the National Transportation Safety Board.
MITAGS is a leader in the field of marine firefighting training, and has provided specialized training to numerous small passenger vessel operators, both at our Seattle and Baltimore facilities, and at customer locations across North America. To learn more about our fire training programs and experience, contact Capt. Jon Kjaerulff, Director of Business Development.