Fire Safety Advice – Boats

Boat safety

  • Ensure all primary and secondary routes leading from accommodation spaces remain unobstructed.
  • Ensure any firefighting equipment is appropriate to the risks, maintained in good order and available for use.
  • Ensure any flotation or water survival aids are adequate in number, maintained in good order and readily available for use in an emergency.
  • Any plan should consider fire occurring in any on-board location and should be practised regularly.
  • Always, always wear a lifejacket.
  • Ensure batteries are properly secured in a location that does not permit the accumulation of hydrogen gas.
  • Make sure all gas or liquid-fuelled heating, refrigerating or cooking appliances are properly secured to prevent them from overturning if there is a collision or the boat tips.
  • Make sure a working smoke alarm is fitted in the accommodation area.



  • Refuel ashore, never aboard.
  • Stop the engine.
  • Turn off all cooking, heating and lighting appliances.
  • Extinguish all cigarettes, pipes and naked flames.
  • Close all hatches, doors, etc.
  • Monitor fuel level to avoid over filling.
  • Ensure that no fuel can accumulate unseen within the boat and mop up any spillage. Ventilate the boat before starting up the engine or using naked lights.
  • Do not carry spare petrol unless essential. If required, store a limited supply of spare fuel in approved containers and keep them securely on the upper deck.


Gas cylinders

  • Always ensure there is adequate ventilation.
  • Store and install cylinders in an upright position with the valve uppermost.
  • Be careful when changing cylinders. Make sure the valve on the empty cylinder is turned off before disconnecting and do not turn on the valve of the full cylinder until it is securely connected.
  • When storing, ensure that cylinders are either secured on deck away from hatches so any escaping gas disperses, or are placed in a properly designed and ventilated container above the water line.


information courtesy of Fire and Emergency New Zealand

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