Electric related Fires are of major concern on board Yachts.
According to the data from Boat U.S., more than 50% of the on board fires are electrical fires. Electrical fires generally take place in the accommodation area and engine room. While most of the electrical fires on board happen due to appliance failure and wiring, many of them occur because of mistakes of the crew.
Let us have a look at some of the common measures that can be taken to avoid electric fires.
Ensure that all the electric cables are inspected physically for any kind of abrasions, cuts, or if any wire is submerged in water because of clogging or any other reason. Such faults should be brought to the notice of the engineer and should be repaired or replaced as soon as possible. Planned maintenance will reduce the risk involved.
Never ignore any kind of damage, no matter how small it is. The initial problem can lead to a major fire and can also result in injury or loss of life . Educating the crew and involving them in a proactive approach including Near Miss reports. They should be encouraged to participate in all safety meetings and receive regular briefings including Risk Assessments relating to Electric safety .
Use equipment which is intrinsically safe, especially while working at spaces where a spark can result in a severe disaster. All electric appliances,including personal items should be inspected by Chief Engineer and approved for use.
Ensure that none of the wiring has a loose connection and check the joints for insulation.
While scheduled maintenance or repairing any equipment or appliance, ensure that it is switched off and disconnected from the power source. Place a notice on the electrical panel which notifies everyone about the work that is being done and to avoid activating or switching power circuits marked.
These are just some basic steps to prevent marine electrical fires and should be taken care of by every crew member. Moreover, a yacht fire treatment and compliance with all the guidelines of marine fire retardant measures to MCA MGN453 is a valuable contributor in terms of safety on board.