Fire extinguishers on the boat

Fire extinguishers on the boat

My boat Tiger Beetle is a 45-foot sailboat, basically a long fiberglass tube with three exits onto deck from the interior: a large foredeck hatch anybody can get through, the companionway with a ladder and steps, and a smaller hatch aft set into the cockpit floor. You need relatively narrow shoulders to fit through the cockpit hatch. These are the ways out if there's a fire inside the boat. I keep two types of fire extinguishers onboard: three small dry chemical ABC units for attacking a generic fire, and one Halotron 1 unit specifically for an engine box fire. The…
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Voyaging Tips, December 2021

Catching dinner from a sailboat on passage is completely unlike sport fishing from a stationary boat. The goal is to get a fish on board for the grill and dinner. On passage the sails are up and you're making the best possible speed, so stopping the boat to fight a fish is not much of an option. A rod and reel is one solution, though you're working with lightweight line, a rod that can break, and if the fish is large enough you'll have difficulty boating it without a net or gaff. Alternatively, a simple, strong, inexpensive handline pays big…
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Voyaging Tips, August 2021

Voyaging Tips, August 2021

Good skippers don’t experiment with long-standing shipboard routines. They know how to delegate important duties to qualified people and then let them do their jobs without micromanaging them. Choose one cook to be in charge and one assistant cook to occasionally help out. Don’t make the cook stand watches and swab the decks too. Meals take time to prepare, cook, serve, and clean up. Multiply that by three meals per day, and that’s enough work right there for anyone. Don’t forget to give your cook some days off by using that assistant cook as an occasional relief. No one wants…
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A hole or break in your boat’s hull is among the worst situations you can face offshore. If your boat is sinking, sort out what to do immediately and what can wait. The first priority is to determine how much water is coming in the hole. Flooding means water is coming in faster than the bilge pump(s) can pump it out. Any lesser amount is leakage, not flooding. Though the difference may seem obvious, it is an important distinction. Leaks can be controlled by pumping alone — no other immediate action is required. Flooding, on the other hand, must be…
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Fire! It's a scary enough thought while ashore. Just imagine cowering in the cockpit of your boat, staring down the companionway as ugly black smoke starts to pour out. What do you do now? If you don't have an answer, think the problem through before you head offshore again. Aside from any knowledge of firefighting techniques, there are three basic steps that will make it much less likely to have to abandon a vessel because of fire. First and most important is to take all action possible to prevent a fire from starting. Second, prepare yourself for fighting the fire…
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