Check that bilge for volatile fumes. - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 14 Old 04-24-2008 Thread Starter
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Check that bilge for volatile fumes.

We all read about the potential dangers of gasoline and propane fumes detonating in our boat's bilges. But rarely do I hear reports of this happening, close to home.

Yesterday, a boat owner was rushed to the hospital with serious burns after "battery sparks" ignited bilge fumes in his '65 Columbia sailboat . . . ironically named Tranquility, while on the hard. Those who are readying their boats for Spring launching, should take notice.

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Man burned on boat when fumes ignite

April 24, 2008 6:00 AM
EAST DENNIS — A 39-year-old Provincetown man was flown to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston with serious burns after an explosion aboard his dry-docked boat yesterday afternoon, officials said.
The burns were serious and affected the man's hands, face and chest, but they were not believed to be life threatening, Dennis firefighter Steven Hierholcer said.
Police declined to release the man's name until his family could be notified, the Dennis police said in a statement.
The man was prepping his 29-foot 1965 Columbia sailboat for the summer season at the Northside Marina at Sesuit Harbor when a blast occurred in the bilge area, the police said.
The man was apparently trying to empty or clean the bilge area when sparks from a battery ignited gas fumes from the bilge, the police said. The boat, named Tranquility, sustained minor damage.
The injured man was able to walk to the marina office to summon help. He was taken by ambulance to Barnstable Municipal Airport and flown to Boston for treatment of first- and second-degree burns, Hierholcer said.
Here's a direct link.

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post #2 of 14 Old 04-24-2008
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Reinforces the need to have a propane or gas alarm with a sensor in the bilge. Thanks for reminding us.
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post #3 of 14 Old 04-24-2008
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Thanks TrueBlue.

Here's an entry on my blog that is about boat fires and explosions. New Boat Builders Home Page - Boating Safety Blog: Boat Fires and Explosions Truly something that will spoil your whole day. Most fuel fires and electrical fires are due to poor maintenance. So check those systems.

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post #4 of 14 Old 04-25-2008
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Hmmm... It just occurred to me: The back of our battery switch is in the starboard lazerette, just above the (possibly) hydrogen-gas-producing batteries, said lazerette of which is separated from the engine compartment (gasoline-powered engine) by painted peg-board.

Catch-22 situation, here: Have to turn on the switch to activate the blower. I imagine these switches are designed to minimize sparking, but still...

I think I'm going to add: "Open the starboard lazerette before turning on switch and blower" to my first-start-of-the-day routine. That will both vent any over-abundance of hydrogen (lighter than air) and give me an opportunity to sniff the compartment, all in one go.

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post #5 of 14 Old 04-25-2008
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Excellent post TB...excellent post...one more thng to keep us all on our toes... thank you
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post #6 of 14 Old 04-25-2008
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Flatulence in the bilge is another problem. When a sailor feels the need to flatulate, he or she should do so elsewhere. I keep a Mason jar on hand just for this purpose. I open the jar, put the rim around my keester, flatulate, and then quickly screw the lid onto the glass threads before the flatluence has a chance to escape. I then label the jar -- for instance: "September 22, 1974; Mile High Stadium; Chargers vs. Broncos." Our house is full of these Mason jars.
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post #7 of 14 Old 04-25-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailhog View Post
Flatulence in the bilge is another problem. When a sailor feels the need to flatulate, he or she should do so elsewhere. I keep a Mason jar on hand just for this purpose. I open the jar, put the rim around my keester, flatulate, and then quickly screw the lid onto the glass threads before the flatluence has a chance to escape. I then label the jar -- for instance: "September 22, 1974; Mile High Stadium; Chargers vs. Broncos." Our house is full of these Mason jars.
Hog, Thank you for my morning chuckle!
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post #8 of 14 Old 04-25-2008 Thread Starter
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So SH, do you have a flatulence cellar, with specially designed racks, grouping your Mason jars by vintage?

Some day, when all the planet's natural gas resources are deprived, you will have enough methane to run your heater and A/C, while the rest of us shiver and sweat.

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Last edited by TrueBlue; 04-25-2008 at 11:05 AM. Reason: spelling challenged
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post #9 of 14 Old 04-25-2008
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TB,
I don't mean to sound elitist, but I'm something of a connesieur. I don't intend to use my flatulence to cut down on my gas bill. Instead, I just like to sit back in the evening and savor the essence of a nice "October 11, 1978 Rotary Club Chili Cookoff." I'll be reading some Shakespeare, NPR's on the radio... ahhh.... heaven...
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post #10 of 14 Old 04-25-2008 Thread Starter
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Ahhh, the ultimate form of narcissism is the savoring of one's vintage flatulence.

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