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  #1  
Old 02-22-2009
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Fire extinguishers and high water alarms

Hi all,
I know these two subjects are not really related, but I have a question on each and it seemed silly to create two threads. My surveyor recommended that I add a high water alarm to my boat, as well as a fireport and clean agent extinguisher near the diesel engine. I'm aware these are recommended items nowadays, so my questions are really just about best way to go about it.

First, on the high water alarm, I haven't found many options. The Rule product available from many locations has a traditional float switch. I'm not really sure how I'd use that float switch, since it mounts on a horizontal surface. My bilge doesn't have a higher-up "level" where I can put it--it would be near the bottom, making it a "low water alarm", which is no good.
Are there other options for a bilge alarm? Some sort of sensor, or different type of install or product? If it matters, I have your standard Rule 2000 pump.

Second, on the first extinguisher, I'm not going to install a "system", but I'm up for a fireport. I already have two Mariner 110 extinguishers, so legally I'm covered. And while they will put out an engine fire (in theory), they can also cause engine corrosion, from what I've read. Yet the clean agent options seem very expensive. Does anyone really use these? Is there a reasonably priced option for a clean agent handheld extinguisher?

Thanks for any advice/suggestions you might have on either of these projects.
-J
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Old 02-22-2009
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For the inboard engine compartment, I'd highly recommend installing an automatic fire extinguishing system, like a Fireboy. They use a gas similar to the older, no longer made, Halon systems, and don't cause engine damage or leave corrosive residue behind.

The Mariner 110, while meeting the specifications, are a bit small IMHO. You're generally better off with larger fire extinguishers than smaller, since fire is one of the most dangerous hazards on a boat.

For the bilge pump, you might want to see the thread on them that is located here.
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Old 02-22-2009
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Hi Sailingdog, thanks for the thread on the swtiches. That helps, although I still need to figure out the alarm end. I'll definitely consider a Fireboy system in the future, but with the boat 400 miles away, I really need to limit the number of projects to get her home. I have three levels of stuff that I need to do: 1) projects that must be done to physically get the boat home, 2) projects that I'd like to get done once the boat is near home where it's easier to work on her, and 3) nice to have projects over the coming year or two.

I've plopped the fireport and additional extinguisher into list "1", but a system will have to come later. My surveyor felt that the addition of a fireport and another portable extinguisher would make a for a safe setup, and those are items that I can install in a relatively short time on a trip to the boat. That's why I'm trying to figure out what's the most cost-effective portable clean agent extinguisher for this application.
Thanks,
J
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Old 02-22-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by josrulz View Post
Hi Sailingdog, thanks for the thread on the swtiches. That helps, although I still need to figure out the alarm end. I'll definitely consider a Fireboy system in the future, but with the boat 400 miles away, I really need to limit the number of projects to get her home. I have three levels of stuff that I need to do: 1) projects that must be done to physically get the boat home, 2) projects that I'd like to get done once the boat is near home where it's easier to work on her, and 3) nice to have projects over the coming year or two.
Making the bilge high-water alarm would be as simple as adding another magnetic reed switch to the design I made up for Andre, or using a double-pole reed switch.

Quote:
I've plopped the fireport and additional extinguisher into list "1", but a system will have to come later. My surveyor felt that the addition of a fireport and another portable extinguisher would make a for a safe setup, and those are items that I can install in a relatively short time on a trip to the boat. That's why I'm trying to figure out what's the most cost-effective portable clean agent extinguisher for this application.
Thanks,
J
Fireboy makes portable gas-filled fire extinguishers that would work on an engine fire through a fire port.

Glad to help.
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Old 02-24-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by josrulz View Post
First, on the high water alarm, I haven't found many options. The Rule product available from many locations has a traditional float switch. I'm not really sure how I'd use that float switch, since it mounts on a horizontal surface. My bilge doesn't have a higher-up "level" where I can put it--it would be near the bottom, making it a "low water alarm", which is no good.

-J
Maybe I don't fully visualize your setup, but what about mounting the alarm switch on a riser? You can make one out of pretty much anything (wood, SS, etc.) to provide offset from the bottom of your bilge.
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Old 02-25-2009
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See these
http://www.depcopump.com/catalog107/25.pdf

or
http://aqualarm.net/ss-209_data_sheet_4-2006.pdf

or
Johnson Pump
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Old 02-25-2009
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Very few (if any) production boats have either a automatic fire supression system or a high water alarm. You should know that before you kill yourself puting those things in.

Catalina uses a port that is nothing more than a hole where a flapper closes behind it. I keep a standard ABC fire extinguisher close to the steps there. In teh event of a fire, just jam the extinguisher through the hole and spray. I certainly would not put an automatic system in unless I had a motor boat or a very large sailboat (mine is 40+ feet). And if you are on diesel engines, I certainly would not do an automatic supression - just the port. If you are on gas, I would 'probably' still just put in the port.

Regarding it corroding the engine if you had to use it... who cares??? If your engine catches fire, who gives a crap if the fire extringuisher might one day corrode it. You have a lot bigger issues to worry about and I think that IF you can salvage the engine afterwards, you could probably clean her up and re-spray with hi-temp paint and would be fine. In other words, don't throw good money after bad. Jest get a regular ABC fire extringuisher, drill a hole for the port, and put the extinguisher close by.

Onteh high water alarm - I think it would be great. I certainly would like to have one and am planning on putting one in. Just 5200 a small board or something part way up your bilge and set the float switch on it. RUn the wires back to a alarm. Better yet, since you are going to the trouble, hook that float swicth to an alarm AND hook it up to a secondary bilge pump. Safety is in redundancy. Bilge pumps will and do fail - especially when they get crap in them that inevitably makes its way into the bilge.

These are just my suggestions.

Brian
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