A brief look at our on-board automatic fire suppression system from Fireboy/Xintex.
FIRE! Thankfully not on our boat. Although I did have a powerboat catch fire 2 boats over from me. What a huge mess! Even though many people were trying to put the fire out and the city responded with a 2 alarm fire, the boat still burned almost to the waterline. Additionally, the boats on either side were heavily damaged before we could get them out of their slips. A marina fire is absolutely no joke. With the close proximity of marina living, it doesn’t take long for a fire to spread. The most effective process that put this fire out was when the SD Harbor Police boat showed up and started dumping huge amounts of sea water on the powerboat from its monitor. (Don’t call it a water cannon… they get weirdly offended by that term)
The cause was never fully discovered and the boat was a total loss.
Boat US states “ it should come as no surprise that, in those cases where a cause of fire (sic) can be determined, at least half of all boat fires originate around the motor.” This is a good article about boat fires. BoatUS article – boat fires
With that in mind… we decided to install an automatic/manual fire suppression system on Volare. We already have multiple new dry chemical fire extinguishers, smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors but we wanted to give ourselves every chance we could.
We chose the MA2-100cu.ft Fireboy/Xintex, HFC-227ea suppression agent, fire extinguisher with automatic and manual discharge, and automatic engine shutdown. It’s a bit oversized for the engine compartment space but, bigger never hurt.
Some of the qualities of HFC-227ea are;
- Unlike dry chemical systems, HFC-227 leaves no residue. It’s non corrosive
- Suppressant agent is a non-conductor of electrical current
- Ideal capabilities for flammable fluids
- Can be applied directly to engines and won’t damage components
- As a HALON replacement, won’t affect the ozone
- Is heavier than air and approved for use in occupied areas
The install was pretty straight forward. Probably made easier on Volare as she has a pretty big engine compartment. Access to the engine compartment is very good after you move the stairs. Although, I think all boat designers sign a pledge to make it nearly impossible to get to the salt water impeller.
So.. like so many other things on our boat, our on-board fire suppression system joins an ever-growing list of safety items that we hopefully, will never use.
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