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Old November 4th 03, 03:31 AM
Gould 0738
 
Posts: n/a
Default Dealing with a boat fire, checking for a common cause

This just came through.

Might be of interest to somebody in the NG, especially since colder weather is
setting in.

A Message from Sparky


(Editor: I am Commodore of Everett Yacht Club. I wrote the attached article for
our Scuttlebutt newsletter some time ago. Since then, I have had requests from
many yacht clubs on the West coast for the article and I have lectured at some
of the Grand 14 clubs regarding this incident. I have been told to send this to
you by many boaters. By the way, your magazine is a favorite at our club. Keep
up the good work.)

Part One; Don't Panic!

At the request of several of our members, I will recall one of the most
traumatic events of boating life for Bev and me, and what we learned from the
experience. On a Monday evening in October, 2001, the phone rang. Michael
Asbury, a fellow tenant at our marina asked me if I was sitting down. He then
proceeded to tell me our boat was ablaze and a total loss! We had just returned
from a boat trip to Poulsbo, and couldn't imagine what might have started the
fire. We raced to the scene to find fire trucks, policemen, the Coast Guard,
the press and half the marina gathered to watch the spectacular display.

Bev and I were both devastated, speechless, and couldn't think straight. With
my mate in tears and trembling, I finally talked the fire captain into letting
me go to the dock and look at the remains of our beautiful 34 Tolly. The fire
also scorched the adjacent boathouse, damaging a few of the boats moored there.

The questions started immediately. The fire investigator, coast guard officers,
and fellow tenants wanted to know how I though it may have started, what I
could have done wrong, what I would do about the other damaged boats and
boathouse, what was I going to do with the blackened hull, whether my insurance
covered environmental damage, and every other question you could think of.
Thank God for Michael Asbury. He immediately pulled me aside and told me not to
answer any questions whatsoever. After all, I didn't have any answers. Don't be
tempted to start thinking out loud how you could have caused this to happen.
Here is what I leaned from this disastrous experience:

At the scene of the accident, whether fire or sinking:

Call your insurance company immediately. Tell them what happened, but do not
speculate about reasons.

Do not leave the scene until you are advised to do so by your insurance
company- it could mean the loss of your boat to salvagers.

Show responsibility for your boat, not for what happened. The Coast Guard can
fine you up to $270,000 for environmental damage if you do not work to prevent
contamination of the environment.

Ask advice from your insurer about transporting your boat to dry dock. Get an
authorization for the expenses, then contact a marine salvage company to take
your boat out of the water ASAP.

The Investigation Begins

When the fire and/or insurance investigator comes to inspect your boat, be
present and do not speculate about what happened. Ask lots of questions. Answer
any questions you can honestly. There may be several investigators: the US
Coast Guard, your insurer, other boaters' insurers, the fire department, marine
surveyors hired by your insurer, etc. Don't let anyone inspect your boat
without you being there and supervising. Don't let anyone take anything off the
boat. Take note of conversations, names, phone numbers, and business cards from
anyone asking to investigate. Forward them to your insurance company
immediately.

If you think your boat is totaled, you do not have to accept the insurer's
valuation if you think it doesn't cover your costs. Make sure the surveyor has
receipts for all the improvements made on the boat since purchase. It is the
responsibility of the insurer to cover your losses, up to the maximum of your
coverage. Salvage and moving costs may not be included. (Check your insurance
policy for this clause now, it's important), Most of us just don't pay enough
attention to the fine print until it's too late

If the boat is totaled, weigh the benefits of buying it back from the insurer.
Some insurers will take bids on disposal. You can have them pay you that
amount, then salvage what you can, and dispose of it yourself.

Part Two: What they Don't Tell You

Within a few days, I was contacted by the Seattle Fire Department. They wanted
access to the boat for their investigation. I met them at Bob's Boat House, got
a ladder, and let them start. They were very professional, and not afraid to
get dirty. It wasn't very long before they found what they thought was the
cause of the fire, but wouldn't disclose it to me. They first checked the
engine compartment, then any other flammable liquids aboard including propane
tanks, etc. They asked questions about how I handled shut-down procedures, what
kind of fire protection I had, etc. I answered them honestly and to the best of
my knowledge. They said they would go make their reports, and I cold check with
the department for their results.

Next, I received a call from PEMCO Insurance. They said they had the results,
and were sending their professional investigator to do a follow up. Again, I
met the investigator at the boat, answered questions, and advised him that I
didn't have a clue what happened to cause the fire. He went through the boat,
bottom to top. He was much more straightforward with the results of his
research. He came up with the shorepower connection from somewhere in the boat.
It became abundantly clear that this was the culprit. The area around the
shorepower connection on the boat was completely burned away.

I was astonished at this finding. I had a certified shorepower cord, locked
into the outlet. We had only a heat lamp and a small de-humidifier aboard,
drawing less than 10-amps total. The investigator stated that the amount of
power you are consuming has little to do with the failure of this connection if
it is not checked regularly. The lugs in the female side of the plug become
loose due to the twisting motion needed to lock it in place, and then the
normal movement of the boat causes a spark to jump between the male and female
lugs. This is just like an arc welder, and the connection gets hot inside the
boat since the outside plug is exposed to the weather. The shorepower breaker
won't even trip until the wires are on fire and burned until they touch. By
that time, your boat is ablaze.

The insurance investigator told me this condition is very common, and
responsible for hundreds of boat moorage fires every year. There is no
widespread, published protocol regarding checking this connection. A notice
etched into the shorepower connection of your boat states that it should be
checked "regularly," but no what knows what that really means. My insurer
checked into this, and found that many surveyors don't check this connection
properly when they inspect your boat for purchase or sale.

Here's what I found out we should do to prevent this from happening:

1. Twice a year, take out the 4 screws holding the connection to the boat.
Check the wires behind it. If they are crisp and brown, have a marine
electrician change out the wires and install a new shorepower connection.
2. Every time you hood to or disconnect form shorepower, check the male lugs on
the boat. If there is any brown around the power or ground connection, do not
re-connect before checking the connection.
3. When you hook the power cord to the boat, be sure to screw the collar on
tight. Also, make sure you secure the cord with a couple of wraps around the
rail. This will prevent motion from effecting the connection.
4. Buy a small tube of "di-electric" grease from any marine supply house. It is
conductive. Apply a generous amount to the male lugs on the shore power
connection, and in the female side of the cord. Also at the shore connection.
This will prevent arcing.
5. Occasionally, when docking, hook your boat to shorepower and connect all the
things you will be leaving on. Wait about 15 minutes, and then disconnect the
shorepower. Place your hand on the wires behind the plug. If they are warm or
hot, you may have a potential problem. Reduce the amount of amperage, and
repeat the test until the wires stay cool.
6. If you are not going to check your boat on a weekly basis, do not ever leave
a fan-operated heater running. The back of the heater an collect dust and cause
it to over hat. Keep boat amperage under 8 amps during storage.
7. Start a moorage watch with someone who is close to you in the marina. Swap
keys, and check each other's boat regularly. Keep emergency numbers posted in
view so if anyone sees anything wrong they can reach you or your
representative.

Following these steps will greatly reduce your risk of boat fires. We hope you
never have to go through what we did.

Part 3: You are insured, you have it coming

Now that we know how to protect ourselves, it still may not be enough. What if
the boat next to yours causes yours to burn? It may, like mine, be a no-fault
incident and you may have to depend upon our own insurer to cover you. Bev and
I know some very important rules to follow to assure that you don't take too
big a hit. These are not my ideas, we can thank Michael and Jane Asbury,
insurance investigators and adjusters with 50-plus years of experience for the
following:

1. Don't trust your memory to keep track of all the items on your boat. Take a
camera, open drawers, and take pictures of what is inside them. Same with
closets. Take interior pictures, then go home and make a complete inventory of
what you have on your boat. In columns, list all items that are marine-oriented
only and items that may have other uses. This is important- your homeowner's
policy will kick in and pay you back for some of the items if you have them
listed with date of purchase and original cost. (They may deduct for
depreciation).
2. If you add anything to your boat after you purchase it, take pictures. Keep
all receipts, including the nuts and bolts you bought to install it. It is
amazing how they add up later.
3. Keep abreast of other boats of your vintage, brand, and condition. If you
see ads in magazines, cut them out occasionally. Be aware of what your boat
could sell for. Remember, it will be your responsibility to prove the extent of
your loss, not the insurance company's. You don't have to accept their
appraisal if you think it is unfair, (you can get a second opinion and lobby
for adjustments).
4. If you buy back your totaled boat, be sure to get a written property release
from your insurer. They are anxious to get rid of it as soon as possible. To
avoid additional costs, dispose of the salvage promptly when you have
permission from the authorities.
5. Very important! Check with both your boat insurer and your homeowner's
coverage about getting an umbrella policy. This low cost coverage acts as a s
supplement if the damages exceed your basic liability coverage. Every boater
and homeowner should look into this. Also, make sure you have a Mariner's
Liability coverage to address environmental damage- this could be very
important!



  #2   Report Post  
Old November 4th 03, 09:34 AM
Keith
 
Posts: n/a
Default Dealing with a boat fire, checking for a common cause

Good article. I've seen lots of this. One thing he doesn't mention is that
you should never connect or disconnect shore power cords with the power on.
If you do this, they can't arc. I spray mine down with Corrosion Block
monthly, this keeps them nice and shiny, and won't allow corrosion that
increases resisistance and heat. Don't forget the shore power end. I've seen
outlets catch on fire at the marina as well. Any brown discoloration on your
cords is an indication of overheating and bad connections.

You can also use an infra-red thermometer to check the outlets and wires, if
you can get access to the back. I'm lucky...I can see the back of my shore
power sockets from inside the boat, and regularly check both the temps and
the wire connections.

"Gould 0738" wrote in message
...
This just came through.

Might be of interest to somebody in the NG, especially since colder

weather is
setting in.

A Message from Sparky


(Editor: I am Commodore of Everett Yacht Club. I wrote the attached

article for
our Scuttlebutt newsletter some time ago. Since then, I have had requests

from
many yacht clubs on the West coast for the article and I have lectured at

some
of the Grand 14 clubs regarding this incident. I have been told to send

this to
you by many boaters. By the way, your magazine is a favorite at our club.

Keep
up the good work.)

Part One; Don't Panic!

At the request of several of our members, I will recall one of the most
traumatic events of boating life for Bev and me, and what we learned from

the
experience. On a Monday evening in October, 2001, the phone rang. Michael
Asbury, a fellow tenant at our marina asked me if I was sitting down. He

then
proceeded to tell me our boat was ablaze and a total loss! We had just

returned
from a boat trip to Poulsbo, and couldn't imagine what might have started

the
fire. We raced to the scene to find fire trucks, policemen, the Coast

Guard,
the press and half the marina gathered to watch the spectacular display.

Bev and I were both devastated, speechless, and couldn't think straight.

With
my mate in tears and trembling, I finally talked the fire captain into

letting
me go to the dock and look at the remains of our beautiful 34 Tolly. The

fire
also scorched the adjacent boathouse, damaging a few of the boats moored

there.

The questions started immediately. The fire investigator, coast guard

officers,
and fellow tenants wanted to know how I though it may have started, what I
could have done wrong, what I would do about the other damaged boats and
boathouse, what was I going to do with the blackened hull, whether my

insurance
covered environmental damage, and every other question you could think of.
Thank God for Michael Asbury. He immediately pulled me aside and told me

not to
answer any questions whatsoever. After all, I didn't have any answers.

Don't be
tempted to start thinking out loud how you could have caused this to

happen.
Here is what I leaned from this disastrous experience:

At the scene of the accident, whether fire or sinking:

Call your insurance company immediately. Tell them what happened, but do

not
speculate about reasons.

Do not leave the scene until you are advised to do so by your insurance
company- it could mean the loss of your boat to salvagers.

Show responsibility for your boat, not for what happened. The Coast Guard

can
fine you up to $270,000 for environmental damage if you do not work to

prevent
contamination of the environment.

Ask advice from your insurer about transporting your boat to dry dock. Get

an
authorization for the expenses, then contact a marine salvage company to

take
your boat out of the water ASAP.

The Investigation Begins

When the fire and/or insurance investigator comes to inspect your boat, be
present and do not speculate about what happened. Ask lots of questions.

Answer
any questions you can honestly. There may be several investigators: the US
Coast Guard, your insurer, other boaters' insurers, the fire department,

marine
surveyors hired by your insurer, etc. Don't let anyone inspect your boat
without you being there and supervising. Don't let anyone take anything

off the
boat. Take note of conversations, names, phone numbers, and business cards

from
anyone asking to investigate. Forward them to your insurance company
immediately.

If you think your boat is totaled, you do not have to accept the insurer's
valuation if you think it doesn't cover your costs. Make sure the surveyor

has
receipts for all the improvements made on the boat since purchase. It is

the
responsibility of the insurer to cover your losses, up to the maximum of

your
coverage. Salvage and moving costs may not be included. (Check your

insurance
policy for this clause now, it's important), Most of us just don't pay

enough
attention to the fine print until it's too late

If the boat is totaled, weigh the benefits of buying it back from the

insurer.
Some insurers will take bids on disposal. You can have them pay you that
amount, then salvage what you can, and dispose of it yourself.

Part Two: What they Don't Tell You

Within a few days, I was contacted by the Seattle Fire Department. They

wanted
access to the boat for their investigation. I met them at Bob's Boat

House, got
a ladder, and let them start. They were very professional, and not afraid

to
get dirty. It wasn't very long before they found what they thought was the
cause of the fire, but wouldn't disclose it to me. They first checked the
engine compartment, then any other flammable liquids aboard including

propane
tanks, etc. They asked questions about how I handled shut-down procedures,

what
kind of fire protection I had, etc. I answered them honestly and to the

best of
my knowledge. They said they would go make their reports, and I cold check

with
the department for their results.

Next, I received a call from PEMCO Insurance. They said they had the

results,
and were sending their professional investigator to do a follow up. Again,

I
met the investigator at the boat, answered questions, and advised him that

I
didn't have a clue what happened to cause the fire. He went through the

boat,
bottom to top. He was much more straightforward with the results of his
research. He came up with the shorepower connection from somewhere in the

boat.
It became abundantly clear that this was the culprit. The area around the
shorepower connection on the boat was completely burned away.

I was astonished at this finding. I had a certified shorepower cord,

locked
into the outlet. We had only a heat lamp and a small de-humidifier aboard,
drawing less than 10-amps total. The investigator stated that the amount

of
power you are consuming has little to do with the failure of this

connection if
it is not checked regularly. The lugs in the female side of the plug

become
loose due to the twisting motion needed to lock it in place, and then the
normal movement of the boat causes a spark to jump between the male and

female
lugs. This is just like an arc welder, and the connection gets hot inside

the
boat since the outside plug is exposed to the weather. The shorepower

breaker
won't even trip until the wires are on fire and burned until they touch.

By
that time, your boat is ablaze.

The insurance investigator told me this condition is very common, and
responsible for hundreds of boat moorage fires every year. There is no
widespread, published protocol regarding checking this connection. A

notice
etched into the shorepower connection of your boat states that it should

be
checked "regularly," but no what knows what that really means. My insurer
checked into this, and found that many surveyors don't check this

connection
properly when they inspect your boat for purchase or sale.

Here's what I found out we should do to prevent this from happening:

1. Twice a year, take out the 4 screws holding the connection to the boat.
Check the wires behind it. If they are crisp and brown, have a marine
electrician change out the wires and install a new shorepower connection.
2. Every time you hood to or disconnect form shorepower, check the male

lugs on
the boat. If there is any brown around the power or ground connection, do

not
re-connect before checking the connection.
3. When you hook the power cord to the boat, be sure to screw the collar

on
tight. Also, make sure you secure the cord with a couple of wraps around

the
rail. This will prevent motion from effecting the connection.
4. Buy a small tube of "di-electric" grease from any marine supply house.

It is
conductive. Apply a generous amount to the male lugs on the shore power
connection, and in the female side of the cord. Also at the shore

connection.
This will prevent arcing.
5. Occasionally, when docking, hook your boat to shorepower and connect

all the
things you will be leaving on. Wait about 15 minutes, and then disconnect

the
shorepower. Place your hand on the wires behind the plug. If they are warm

or
hot, you may have a potential problem. Reduce the amount of amperage, and
repeat the test until the wires stay cool.
6. If you are not going to check your boat on a weekly basis, do not ever

leave
a fan-operated heater running. The back of the heater an collect dust and

cause
it to over hat. Keep boat amperage under 8 amps during storage.
7. Start a moorage watch with someone who is close to you in the marina.

Swap
keys, and check each other's boat regularly. Keep emergency numbers posted

in
view so if anyone sees anything wrong they can reach you or your
representative.

Following these steps will greatly reduce your risk of boat fires. We hope

you
never have to go through what we did.

Part 3: You are insured, you have it coming

Now that we know how to protect ourselves, it still may not be enough.

What if
the boat next to yours causes yours to burn? It may, like mine, be a

no-fault
incident and you may have to depend upon our own insurer to cover you. Bev

and
I know some very important rules to follow to assure that you don't take

too
big a hit. These are not my ideas, we can thank Michael and Jane Asbury,
insurance investigators and adjusters with 50-plus years of experience for

the
following:

1. Don't trust your memory to keep track of all the items on your boat.

Take a
camera, open drawers, and take pictures of what is inside them. Same with
closets. Take interior pictures, then go home and make a complete

inventory of
what you have on your boat. In columns, list all items that are

marine-oriented
only and items that may have other uses. This is important- your

homeowner's
policy will kick in and pay you back for some of the items if you have

them
listed with date of purchase and original cost. (They may deduct for
depreciation).
2. If you add anything to your boat after you purchase it, take pictures.

Keep
all receipts, including the nuts and bolts you bought to install it. It is
amazing how they add up later.
3. Keep abreast of other boats of your vintage, brand, and condition. If

you
see ads in magazines, cut them out occasionally. Be aware of what your

boat
could sell for. Remember, it will be your responsibility to prove the

extent of
your loss, not the insurance company's. You don't have to accept their
appraisal if you think it is unfair, (you can get a second opinion and

lobby
for adjustments).
4. If you buy back your totaled boat, be sure to get a written property

release
from your insurer. They are anxious to get rid of it as soon as possible.

To
avoid additional costs, dispose of the salvage promptly when you have
permission from the authorities.
5. Very important! Check with both your boat insurer and your homeowner's
coverage about getting an umbrella policy. This low cost coverage acts as

a s
supplement if the damages exceed your basic liability coverage. Every

boater
and homeowner should look into this. Also, make sure you have a Mariner's
Liability coverage to address environmental damage- this could be very
important!




  #3   Report Post  
Old November 4th 03, 12:46 PM
Wwj2110
 
Posts: n/a
Default Dealing with a boat fire, checking for a common cause

Buy a small tube of "di-electric" grease from any marine supply house. It is
conductive.


dielectric grease is nonconductive
  #4   Report Post  
Old November 4th 03, 01:17 PM
Paul
 
Posts: n/a
Default Dealing with a boat fire, checking for a common cause

That looks like good info and probably a good winter project.


"Gould 0738" wrote in message
...
This just came through.

Might be of interest to somebody in the NG, especially since colder

weather is
setting in.

A Message from Sparky


(Editor: I am Commodore of Everett Yacht Club. I wrote the attached

article for
our Scuttlebutt newsletter some time ago. Since then, I have had requests

from
many yacht clubs on the West coast for the article and I have lectured at

some
of the Grand 14 clubs regarding this incident. I have been told to send

this to
you by many boaters. By the way, your magazine is a favorite at our club.

Keep
up the good work.)

Part One; Don't Panic!

At the request of several of our members, I will recall one of the most
traumatic events of boating life for Bev and me, and what we learned from

the
experience. On a Monday evening in October, 2001, the phone rang. Michael
Asbury, a fellow tenant at our marina asked me if I was sitting down. He

then
proceeded to tell me our boat was ablaze and a total loss! We had just

returned
from a boat trip to Poulsbo, and couldn't imagine what might have started

the
fire. We raced to the scene to find fire trucks, policemen, the Coast

Guard,
the press and half the marina gathered to watch the spectacular display.

Bev and I were both devastated, speechless, and couldn't think straight.

With
my mate in tears and trembling, I finally talked the fire captain into

letting
me go to the dock and look at the remains of our beautiful 34 Tolly. The

fire
also scorched the adjacent boathouse, damaging a few of the boats moored

there.

The questions started immediately. The fire investigator, coast guard

officers,
and fellow tenants wanted to know how I though it may have started, what I
could have done wrong, what I would do about the other damaged boats and
boathouse, what was I going to do with the blackened hull, whether my

insurance
covered environmental damage, and every other question you could think of.
Thank God for Michael Asbury. He immediately pulled me aside and told me

not to
answer any questions whatsoever. After all, I didn't have any answers.

Don't be
tempted to start thinking out loud how you could have caused this to

happen.
Here is what I leaned from this disastrous experience:

At the scene of the accident, whether fire or sinking:

Call your insurance company immediately. Tell them what happened, but do

not
speculate about reasons.

Do not leave the scene until you are advised to do so by your insurance
company- it could mean the loss of your boat to salvagers.

Show responsibility for your boat, not for what happened. The Coast Guard

can
fine you up to $270,000 for environmental damage if you do not work to

prevent
contamination of the environment.

Ask advice from your insurer about transporting your boat to dry dock. Get

an
authorization for the expenses, then contact a marine salvage company to

take
your boat out of the water ASAP.

The Investigation Begins

When the fire and/or insurance investigator comes to inspect your boat, be
present and do not speculate about what happened. Ask lots of questions.

Answer
any questions you can honestly. There may be several investigators: the US
Coast Guard, your insurer, other boaters' insurers, the fire department,

marine
surveyors hired by your insurer, etc. Don't let anyone inspect your boat
without you being there and supervising. Don't let anyone take anything

off the
boat. Take note of conversations, names, phone numbers, and business cards

from
anyone asking to investigate. Forward them to your insurance company
immediately.

If you think your boat is totaled, you do not have to accept the insurer's
valuation if you think it doesn't cover your costs. Make sure the surveyor

has
receipts for all the improvements made on the boat since purchase. It is

the
responsibility of the insurer to cover your losses, up to the maximum of

your
coverage. Salvage and moving costs may not be included. (Check your

insurance
policy for this clause now, it's important), Most of us just don't pay

enough
attention to the fine print until it's too late

If the boat is totaled, weigh the benefits of buying it back from the

insurer.
Some insurers will take bids on disposal. You can have them pay you that
amount, then salvage what you can, and dispose of it yourself.

Part Two: What they Don't Tell You

Within a few days, I was contacted by the Seattle Fire Department. They

wanted
access to the boat for their investigation. I met them at Bob's Boat

House, got
a ladder, and let them start. They were very professional, and not afraid

to
get dirty. It wasn't very long before they found what they thought was the
cause of the fire, but wouldn't disclose it to me. They first checked the
engine compartment, then any other flammable liquids aboard including

propane
tanks, etc. They asked questions about how I handled shut-down procedures,

what
kind of fire protection I had, etc. I answered them honestly and to the

best of
my knowledge. They said they would go make their reports, and I cold check

with
the department for their results.

Next, I received a call from PEMCO Insurance. They said they had the

results,
and were sending their professional investigator to do a follow up. Again,

I
met the investigator at the boat, answered questions, and advised him that

I
didn't have a clue what happened to cause the fire. He went through the

boat,
bottom to top. He was much more straightforward with the results of his
research. He came up with the shorepower connection from somewhere in the

boat.
It became abundantly clear that this was the culprit. The area around the
shorepower connection on the boat was completely burned away.

I was astonished at this finding. I had a certified shorepower cord,

locked
into the outlet. We had only a heat lamp and a small de-humidifier aboard,
drawing less than 10-amps total. The investigator stated that the amount

of
power you are consuming has little to do with the failure of this

connection if
it is not checked regularly. The lugs in the female side of the plug

become
loose due to the twisting motion needed to lock it in place, and then the
normal movement of the boat causes a spark to jump between the male and

female
lugs. This is just like an arc welder, and the connection gets hot inside

the
boat since the outside plug is exposed to the weather. The shorepower

breaker
won't even trip until the wires are on fire and burned until they touch.

By
that time, your boat is ablaze.

The insurance investigator told me this condition is very common, and
responsible for hundreds of boat moorage fires every year. There is no
widespread, published protocol regarding checking this connection. A

notice
etched into the shorepower connection of your boat states that it should

be
checked "regularly," but no what knows what that really means. My insurer
checked into this, and found that many surveyors don't check this

connection
properly when they inspect your boat for purchase or sale.

Here's what I found out we should do to prevent this from happening:

1. Twice a year, take out the 4 screws holding the connection to the boat.
Check the wires behind it. If they are crisp and brown, have a marine
electrician change out the wires and install a new shorepower connection.
2. Every time you hood to or disconnect form shorepower, check the male

lugs on
the boat. If there is any brown around the power or ground connection, do

not
re-connect before checking the connection.
3. When you hook the power cord to the boat, be sure to screw the collar

on
tight. Also, make sure you secure the cord with a couple of wraps around

the
rail. This will prevent motion from effecting the connection.
4. Buy a small tube of "di-electric" grease from any marine supply house.

It is
conductive. Apply a generous amount to the male lugs on the shore power
connection, and in the female side of the cord. Also at the shore

connection.
This will prevent arcing.
5. Occasionally, when docking, hook your boat to shorepower and connect

all the
things you will be leaving on. Wait about 15 minutes, and then disconnect

the
shorepower. Place your hand on the wires behind the plug. If they are warm

or
hot, you may have a potential problem. Reduce the amount of amperage, and
repeat the test until the wires stay cool.
6. If you are not going to check your boat on a weekly basis, do not ever

leave
a fan-operated heater running. The back of the heater an collect dust and

cause
it to over hat. Keep boat amperage under 8 amps during storage.
7. Start a moorage watch with someone who is close to you in the marina.

Swap
keys, and check each other's boat regularly. Keep emergency numbers posted

in
view so if anyone sees anything wrong they can reach you or your
representative.

Following these steps will greatly reduce your risk of boat fires. We hope

you
never have to go through what we did.

Part 3: You are insured, you have it coming

Now that we know how to protect ourselves, it still may not be enough.

What if
the boat next to yours causes yours to burn? It may, like mine, be a

no-fault
incident and you may have to depend upon our own insurer to cover you. Bev

and
I know some very important rules to follow to assure that you don't take

too
big a hit. These are not my ideas, we can thank Michael and Jane Asbury,
insurance investigators and adjusters with 50-plus years of experience for

the
following:

1. Don't trust your memory to keep track of all the items on your boat.

Take a
camera, open drawers, and take pictures of what is inside them. Same with
closets. Take interior pictures, then go home and make a complete

inventory of
what you have on your boat. In columns, list all items that are

marine-oriented
only and items that may have other uses. This is important- your

homeowner's
policy will kick in and pay you back for some of the items if you have

them
listed with date of purchase and original cost. (They may deduct for
depreciation).
2. If you add anything to your boat after you purchase it, take pictures.

Keep
all receipts, including the nuts and bolts you bought to install it. It is
amazing how they add up later.
3. Keep abreast of other boats of your vintage, brand, and condition. If

you
see ads in magazines, cut them out occasionally. Be aware of what your

boat
could sell for. Remember, it will be your responsibility to prove the

extent of
your loss, not the insurance company's. You don't have to accept their
appraisal if you think it is unfair, (you can get a second opinion and

lobby
for adjustments).
4. If you buy back your totaled boat, be sure to get a written property

release
from your insurer. They are anxious to get rid of it as soon as possible.

To
avoid additional costs, dispose of the salvage promptly when you have
permission from the authorities.
5. Very important! Check with both your boat insurer and your homeowner's
coverage about getting an umbrella policy. This low cost coverage acts as

a s
supplement if the damages exceed your basic liability coverage. Every

boater
and homeowner should look into this. Also, make sure you have a Mariner's
Liability coverage to address environmental damage- this could be very
important!




  #5   Report Post  
Old November 5th 03, 02:54 AM
Jim Irvine
 
Posts: n/a
Default Dealing with a boat fire, checking for a common cause

I wonder why these power cords do not have a simple GFCI in-line breaker
that would trip and warn the user when any of the connections are starting
to go.




  #6   Report Post  
Old November 5th 03, 03:50 AM
Mark Browne
 
Posts: n/a
Default Dealing with a boat fire, checking for a common cause


"Jim Irvine" wrote in message
...
I wonder why these power cords do not have a simple GFCI in-line breaker
that would trip and warn the user when any of the connections are starting
to go.


Give it anouther 50 years for the technology to "Catch on".

Mark Browne


  #7   Report Post  
Old November 5th 03, 05:19 AM
Gould 0738
 
Posts: n/a
Default Dealing with a boat fire, checking for a common cause

I wonder why these power cords do not have a simple GFCI in-line breaker
that would trip and warn the user when any of the connections are starting
to go.


Exactly the sort of wondering from which
(a few, and very small) fortunes have been made! :-)
  #8   Report Post  
Old November 5th 03, 05:21 AM
DSK
 
Posts: n/a
Default Dealing with a boat fire, checking for a common cause

Jim Irvine wrote:

I wonder why these power cords do not have a simple GFCI in-line breaker
that would trip and warn the user when any of the connections are starting
to go.


That would be nice. Probably only cost an extra $25 or so.

DSK


  #9   Report Post  
Old November 5th 03, 05:41 AM
Joe
 
Posts: n/a
Default Dealing with a boat fire, checking for a common cause

I wonder why these power cords do not have a simple GFCI in-line breaker
that would trip and warn the user when any of the connections are

starting
to go.


That would be nice. Probably only cost an extra $25 or so.

DSK



What's strange is that the 2002 NEC requires that GFCI outlets be installed:
"outdoors, in boathouses, in buildings used for storage, maintenance,
repair, where hand tools, diagnostic equipment, or portable lighting is
used", but has no GFCI requirement for shore power.

Even specifically states that these requirements are for "Other than shore
power"

Makes no sense to me.


  #10   Report Post  
Old November 5th 03, 05:59 AM
Rick
 
Posts: n/a
Default Dealing with a boat fire, checking for a common cause

Jim Irvine wrote:

I wonder why these power cords do not have a simple GFCI in-line breaker
that would trip and warn the user when any of the connections are starting
to go.



Probably because a 30 or 50 amp GFCI breaker somehow encapsulated as
part of a shorepower cord would add about $300 to the cost and darn few
boaters would buy one and what would it do to prevent the scenario
described?

There is already a breaker on the dock, right? All an additional GFCI
breaker would do is open when the slightest leak occurred to ground. Any
short drawing less than the rated current (more than enough to start a
fire) would be ignored unless the ground conductor was involved. Plug a
hair dryer into the bathroom GFCI outlet, and you will see lots of
glowing wires available there. There is nothing in a GFCI to prevent the
same glowing wires in your shorepower socket.

Rick



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