Incident sparks boat fire alert

31 March 2015

Boaters are advised to check their electrical and fuel systems following a serious fire-related incident on Lake Eildon on 31 March 2015.

Data from the Maritime Safety Victoria (MSV) reveals that there have been 12 boat fires across the state in 2014-15 to date, including the most recent incident today.

Paul Corkill, spokesperson for MSV, says all boaters need to take action to minimise the risk of fires.

"Fire safety requires extra vigilance on boats, as they have the potential to seriously injure those on board.

"Today's incident at Lake Eildon will be thoroughly investigated and it is too early to determine the exact cause of the fire. However, we know that in many instances boat fires are largely preventable and all boaters should take measures to avoid fire on their vessels.

"Many boat fires are caused by poorly maintained mechanical equipment. We strongly urge boat owners to have their vessel checked by a qualified person. In the case of gas appliances, any work must be carried out by a licensed gas fitter.

"It's also important that you have the tools to combat a fire if it erupts – so keep your fire extinguisher in good order and placed in an easily accessible location on the vessel," Mr Corkill said.

Houseboat owners can ensure fire safety by:

  • reviewing gas appliances and their installation on their boat
  • ensuring water heaters are sealed off from sleeping areas and
  • contacting a licensed gas fitter for advice and to perform required work.

MSV data shows that there were 14 boat fires in 2013-14, two of those incidents resulted in serious injuries to vessel occupants.