Maintaining your boat - video transcript

This page is a transcript of Transport Safety Victoria's (TSV) video ‘Maintaining your boat’.

[Vision of boats on the lake and docking at refuelling stations]

[Music playing in the background]

[Vision of TSV logo]

TSV Maritime Safety Officer Martin O' Connell talking.

Vessel fires in recent years have most notably occurred on inboard powered ski boats.

The fires generally begin in or around the engine and are almost universally caused by leaking fuel and the resultant build-up of explosive petrol vapours.

A significant number of fires and explosions do not occur with the first start-up of the day, but rather after the craft has been running for a while.

[Visual: Man starting boat up]

Commonly the problem is with older craft, or boats that have been modified or otherwise tinkered with by the owners.

[Visual: Man started old boat with an inboard petrol engine]

Maintenance issues may be compounded if they are used primarily on a seasonal basis or spend long periods of time inactive or in storage.

[Visual: Boat maintenance workshop with a man working on a boat]

The reason that petrol is so potentially dangerous is because it is highly volatile

[Visual: Man filling a jerry can with fuel]

Perished and split fuel lines are a common cause of vessel fires. Fuel hoses have ratings and for boats, they should be of the highest rating available. The cheaper, inferior stuff should be avoided, as it can become brittle and split or break or it may deteriorate when exposed to petrol.

[Visual: An old brittle fuel line splitting while the marine mechanic bends it]

Clamps that are used to hold fuel hoses in place can work themselves loose or even fall off over time, fuel can then spill straight into the confined spaces of the boat – such as the bilge.

[Visual: Marine mechanic showing a loose clamp that holds the hose connecting fuel filler hose to the fuel tank]

Routing of the fuel line is also a potential source of leaks due to chafing and, to top it off, the carburettor on this particular boat was off a car rather than a dedicated marine unit. This is a common practice with inboard petrol-engined craft, but many people don’t realise that there is a distinct and important difference between auto and marine-dedicated carburettors. Carburettors designed for marine use will, when flooded, allow excess fuel to overflow down into the inlet manifold, which, at worst, will cause difficult starting. By contrast, motor vehicle carburettors flood externally – generally all over the outside of the carburettor. The result is that the fuel either pools in the top of the engine, or runs down into the bilge, causing a vapour build-up just waiting for a spark to ruin the owner’s day.

[Visual: A car carburetor on a boat engine]

Onboard safety equipment, especially fire extinguishers, should be in good working condition.

[Visual: A fire extinguisher on an inboard]

Inboard petrol-powered craft consider installing quality vapour detectors, ventilation units such as bilge blowers, and warning systems on their craft.

[Visual: Vapour detector on an inboard, a ventilation unit (bilge blower) on an inboard, a warning system on an inboard]

So there we have it, you know fires on boats nearly doubled last season and our aim is to get them back to well under the 2010 figures. Please keep you boat regularly maintained don’t let it go up in smoke.

[Visual: TSV campaign image – boat on fire with text 'Don't let your boat go up in smoke. Be fire safe.

TSV logo

Special thanks to Eildon Boat Club with logo]

End of video.

Was this page helpful?

Thank you, your feedback is valuable to us.