Tuesday, November 11, 2003
What Would You Do: Surviving At Sea
There's nothing like spending a day on a boat in South Florida ... Crystal clear water ... Fun in the sun. But all too often that fun in the sun turns dangerous... And all too often, the people on board are unprepared. Like what would you do if there was a fire on the boat? 7's Charles Perez shows us how to Survive At Sea.
(WSVN) -- Water for miles and miles ... But all the water in the world may not help a boat fire.
Charles says, "I'm picturing somebody out on a pleasure cruise taking anything they've got scooping water out of the ocean trying to throw it on this fire."
Kevin Collins of Towboat U.S. says, "It can help, but a lot of times it won't do the whole job."
The biggest problem -- most boat fires are fueled by the gas tanks.
Kevin says, "The thing is that with a fuel fire water does not put out a fuel fire."
And most boats are made of fiberglass.
"It burns very well and it's a very hot fire."
So a small smoldering fire can quickly turn into a burning inferno ... smothering the boat with smoke ... leaving no choice but to abandon ship.
But escaping the fire may not save your life ... the difference between life and death in the ocean often boils down to having the right equipment to call for help.
They need a fire extinguisher.
Kevin says, "They absolutely need a fire extinguisher."
Just make sure you know where the extinguisher is ... and you know how to work it.
"Go to that fire extinguisher probably at least once a month, make sure that the pressure, that the gauge is showing."
Also make sure you have the ability to communicate.
Charles says, "They need a radio."
Kevin says, "...need a radio."
Many boaters figure they can use a cell phone instead of buying a VHF radio.
"Many times your cell phone won't work offshore."
And just having one radio is not enough. A fire could melt the wires. So having a backup isn't a bad idea.
"You can buy an entry models for $100, that's the cheapest insurance you can buy."
You also need a working flare gun ...
"You need to make yourself known."
And it's a good idea to have a GPS, global positioning device ... so you can tell rescuers exactly where you are.
Because if you're forced to abandon ship miles off shore ... a rescue boat is you're only hope.
Kevin says, "We are there to save life first, get everybody to safety, that's our primary goal."
Planning is everything ... so make sure everyone on board your boat knows where to find safety equipment like fire extinguishers and life vests.
Have a fire plan ... and make sure all passengers know what it is.
Next week, what do you do if you're bitten by a snake?
We've all heard you can suck out the venom. Well guess what - that's the wrong answer.
Charles is going to show us the right thing to do next Tuesday at 10.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Towboat U-S: http://offshoremarinetowing.com/