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Knowledge of Boat and Dock Systems Vital to Fire Investigation

Blaze Fire Investigation is now know as Anderson Engineering. (updated 6/28/17)

Marine fire investigators need to understand boat and dock systems, how they are interrelated and how they function in order to accurately determine origin and cause of a fire incident. The ability to read boat schematics allows investigators to look at the arrangement of bulkheads and electrical systems in their analysis and point to potential causes of failure. The effects of vibration, corrosion and the addition of after-market parts can create fire hazards that the investigator can pinpoint because he knows what should and should not be present in the construction of the vessel.

Most boat fires are caused by electrical issues

Electrical systems on boats run many systems - from pumps and blowers, to heating and air conditioning. Wires run throughout the boat where they can be possible ignition sources. It is possible for a fuel leak to cause a fire in a location that is not close to the source of the leak. Fuel vapors can travel to the place where vibrations may have chaffed the wiring, or corrosion has eaten through the wire coating, creating an ignition source. Boats are designed with ventilation systems to remove dangerous vapors but sometimes these systems fail because of lack of maintenance, or lack of knowledge of the boat owner about their proper use.

Many owners do not themselves, understand the intricate electrical systems on their boats. They unknowingly create fire hazards when repairs have been made that don’t take into account actual power requirements or use marine approved wiring and materials. Improper fueling procedures cause fire hazards when the boat owner doesn’t realize the necessity of blowers to vent the vapors from the boat interior. As with any fire investigation, interviewing the boat or dock owner and any witnesses provides important information that, when combined with forensic analysis, leads to a confident conclusion of origin and cause.

Dock systems may be the cause of boat fires in harbor

Knowledge of boat and dock systems is critical to fire investigaitons.A pleasure craft is not just a hobby for many people, it’s their home. Just as a camper plugs in to water and power at a camp ground, a boat does the same at a marina slip. The water and power systems on the dock need to be considered when examining a fire that has occurred while in harbor. A failure in the installation of an electrical supply could result in reverse polarity into a vessel or a ground fault that energizes the surrounding water.

Fire incidents that occur in a marina have the potential to create very large losses. The close proximity of the vessels, connected by the dock system, can allow fires to travel quickly. If an electrical malfunction energizes the surrounding water, the potential for serious injury or death is very real. The pleasure craft themselves represent a very large investment. All involved are interested in discovering the answer to the origin and cause of a fire to determine proper liability and prevent future accidents.

Blaze Fire investigators apply expert boat and dock knowledge

The marine fire investigators at Blaze Fire have the certifications, credentials and resources that are needed to determine origin and cause for fires that occur on boat and dock systems. They also have expert knowledge of how marine vessels and docks are constructed that helps them to quickly and accurately provide the answers that clients need to get their best outcome.

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