Melbourne Fire Department Offers Marina and Boating Safety Tips
It’s important to follow safe practices while operating a boat or while docked at a marina to protect yourself, your loved ones and pets from the hazards associated with boating, such as electrical shock drowning and carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Electrical shock drowning can occur when marina electrical systems or boats leak electrical current into the water that can cause a shock that can injure, disable or kill a person.
- Carbon monoxide is an odorless, invisible gas that is created when fuels do not fully burn. It can collect anywhere in or around a boat and can linger after the motor has been turned off. It is extremely harmful to people and pets.
To stay safe on the water the Melbourne Fire Department recommends following these important safety practices from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA):
- Never swim near the boat, marina or launching ramp. Residual current could flow into the water from the boat or the marina’s wiring and put you at risk of electrical shock drowning.
- Be sure your boat is well-maintained. Have it inspected each year by a qualified marine electrician.
- Ground fault circuit interrupters and equipment leakage circuit interrupters should be installed and tested monthly to find out if electrical current is leaking from the boat.
- Only use cords intended for marine use. Never use household cords near water.
- Know where your main breakers are on both the boat and the shore power source so that you can respond quickly in an emergency.
- Keep your engine properly maintained and follow manufacturer’s instructions for service.
- Ensure there is proper ventilation for engine and generator exhaust, keep vents clear and inspect pipes for leaks.
- Do not swim near the boat’s exhaust vents.
- Install carbon monoxide alarms and test them before each trip. Choose an alarm that is listed by a qualified testing laboratory.
- If the carbon monoxide alarm sounds, or if you experience the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, such as headache, fatigue, confusion, dizziness, nausea or seizures, move to a fresh air location right away.
For more information, please see the NFPA's Marina and Boating Safety Tip Sheet.
These tips were reproduced from NFPA’s website, www.nfpa.org/publiceducation. ©NFPA.