Despite all the advances in onboard fire prevention, fire at sea can still happen turning an ordinary day out into a life-threatening ordeal. As this dramatic video shows – the combination of fibreglass, strong winds and a family escaping from their burning boat is frightening and difficult to watch.
This video was shot in 2011 off Hilton Head Island, South Carolina and shows a 50ft+ flybridge motoryacht, called Final Act burning intensely but still afloat. Aaron Pufal was the skipper of the Immunolin, the Marlow 61 that came to the rescue and from which the video was filmed. He describes the events:
"We just happened to be close by to assist. The fire started in the engine room, no-one knows why, but it only took about 2-3 minutes before the entire boat was ablaze."
No-one on board Final Act was hurt and Aaron records that five people and two dogs were safely removed from the burning boat's liferaft.
Fire on board boats is relatively rare but there are plenty of sensible precautions that can prevent fires from starting and taking hold. Once these elements are in place, the only thing left to do is to ensure the boat contains adequate fire-fighting equipment and that the crew are trained in how to react to a fire wherever it occurs on the boat.
For more on this, see: 14 tips to make sure your safety gear is in order or Gas safety onboard: guide for yachts and powerboats.