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post #11 of 19 Old 01-05-2011
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Back in the mid 70's when I first started working in the USCG Boating Safety Program we were pushing the installation of fire ports on engine comparments. They are easy tinstall and it gives you an easy way to fight an engine room fire without actually opening the hatch.

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It is possible to use portable and semi-portable extinguishers to flood engine compartments in lieu of using a fixed system by following these guidelines:

A portable extinguisher attached to the outside of the engine compartment can be discharged through a closeable discharge port into the protected compartment. The method of attachment should permit the nozzle to be inserted into the discharge port during a fire. The discharge port must be sized to accommodate the extinguisher nozzle. This procedure is also used on pleasure craft as an (second best) alternative to fixed systems protecting small volumes (American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) Standards, Chapter A-4), where a portable fire extinguisher is attached by its bracket next to the discharge port. This concept has been shown to be a viable concept for small engine compartments through tests by ABYC committee members and Coast Guard R&D Report No. CG-D-31-76.
USCG: Fixed Fire Extinguishing Systems for T-Boats

ABYC Standard A-4 requires this on boats with inboard engines but that do not have a fixed fire fighting system.

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4.5 REQUIREMENTS - IN GENERAL

4.5.1

Fire extinguishing equipment (portable or fixed) shall be U.S. Coast Guard approved, and listed or approved by a recognized independent testing laboratory. The installation and use of such fire extinguishing equipment shall be in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
4.5.2

Inboard and sterndrive boats with engine compartments shall have either:
4.5.2.1

a fixed fire extinguishing system installed in the machinery space (see A-4.7), or
4.5.2.2

a single suitably sized clean agent portable fire extinguisher provided and installed in proximity to a port to permit discharge directly into the engine compartment without opening the primary access. (See TABLE IV for determination of the minimum portable clean agent fire extinguisher size for this usage.)
4.5.2.2.1

The provision such as a discharge port shall be:
4.5.2.2.1.1

sized to accept the portable fire extinguisher discharge nozzle,
4.5.2.2.1.2

able to be opened from outside the compartment to provide ready access for discharge of the agent into the engine compartment, and
4.5.2.2.1.3

located so the required size portable fire extinguisher can be properly discharged in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions.
NOTE: A discharge port located in a horizontal surface may not allow the portable fire extinguisher to be properly or completely discharged, unless the extinguisher is equipped with a hose and nozzle.
4.5.2.2.2

A label that complies with A-4.5.6 shall be affixed adjacent to or as part of the discharge provision providing information to avoid misuse and possible personal injury.
NOTE: An example of such a label follows.

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post #12 of 19 Old 01-06-2011
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Fireports are a damn good thing...but really work best with "halon" type fire extinguishers...
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Do not open the engine compartment if you suspect a fire. You will simply provide oxygen for the flames.

Use a BC fire extinguisher with a hose. Stick the hose into a hole in the wall of the engine compartment. Most newer boats have such a hole. If yours does not, consider drilling one.

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post #13 of 19 Old 01-06-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boasun View Post
Oily rags in tight metal containers.
I always understood that you had to provide adequate ventilation to avoid spontaneous combustion. Are you saying to use fireproof meal containers?

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post #14 of 19 Old 01-06-2011
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I was on board an aircraft carrier back in the early 90's. We once had a fuel oil fire that was so bad, they mustered everybody in the hangar bay and started providing instructions on abandoning the ship.

We have a 33' boat with three extinguishers on board. One at the aft behind the galley, on amidships at the berth, and another in the head where there is a hatch for escape. The engine compartment has a fire port in it. The previous owner had a halon system in it, but they no longer make halon. We may install another halon like system.

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post #15 of 19 Old 01-06-2011
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im glad this came up... ive got four powder extinguishers already, but someone just gave me a new in box 'premium-blend halon' extinguisher. from what i can gather they dont make these any more due to enviornmental concerns... should i keep the thing around? this halon stuff supposedly keeps for a long long time w/o the need to recharge.

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post #16 of 19 Old 01-06-2011 Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ottos View Post
I always understood that you had to provide adequate ventilation to avoid spontaneous combustion. Are you saying to use fireproof meal containers?

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Yes! Use fire proof / air tight metal containers;
Then if there is spontaineous combustion, the Oxygen is used up and the combustion goes out.

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post #17 of 19 Old 01-06-2011
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We were cruising in Central America when friends on a nearby boat had a cooking fire requiring the use of their fire extinguisher. When we all checked into Panama shortly afterwards, they had some difficulty explaining all that white powder all over their boat!
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post #18 of 19 Old 01-07-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jackdale View Post
Do not open the engine compartment if you suspect a fire. You will simply provide oxygen for the flames.

Use a BC fire extinguisher with a hose. Stick the hose into a hole in the wall of the engine compartment. Most newer boats have such a hole. If yours does not, consider drilling one.
The hole is called a "fire port". I installed one last season. It has a little flap that is normally closed but can be lifted to inspect the engine compartment without creating a large opening and letting oxigin. To go along with the fire port you really need a Halotron (the replacement for Halon) fire extinguisher as you won't be able to aim a chemical or foam extinguisher through the fire port. The engine can not be running when the extinguisher is being used as it will suck the Halotron into the intake reducing its effectiveness. Automatic engine compartment systems include an auto engin kill.
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post #19 of 19 Old 01-07-2011
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One thing to consider, that we always carry, is an axe to cut up cabinetry to allow access to such a calamity.

It may not be pretty in the aftermath, but could be instrumental in saving the hull should such a calamity occur.
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