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Updated: 03/14/2014 08:00:04AM

Boat fire blues

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Bill Hempel

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You may have recently heard about the 64-foot yacht that was ravaged by fire and burned to the waterline. There are a few lessons you can learn from this incident. Obviously, you should take all the steps necessary to prevent fire. But when a 64-foot yacht is ravaged by fire, we can see just how horrific a boat fire can be. Fortunately, the subject boat was near Captiva, there were good Samaritans nearby, and all aboard were quickly rescued — but had the fire occurred farther offshore, the results might have been tragic.

Another positive lesson is the fact that the captain put life jackets on everybody and ordered them overboard. There were no romantic notions that the captain goes down with his ship, or never give up the battle to save the boat in this incident. He did exactly the right thing by abandoning ship. It is always a tough decision to quit fighting a fire and watch your beloved boat burn to the waterline, but once there is any doubt about putting the fire out, cease all attempts — get your life-jacketed crew overboard, and get as far away as possible before the fire finds any fuel aboard and explodes.

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