Boaters urged to conduct fire safety checks

A recent incident on Lake Mulwala has sparked fire safety concerns.

The NSW Roads and Maritime Services is reminding owners of inboard petrol engine vessels to conduct appropriate safety checks before heading out on the water after a vessel fire on Lake Mulwala last week.

Maritime Services acting general manager maritime operations, Trevor Williams, said inboard petrol engines — such as those often used in ski boats — pose a risk of fire and explosion if appropriate precautions aren’t taken.

"The risk of fire can be minimised by the fitting of a ventilation system, regularly checking bilges and fuel systems for signs of leaks, and always carefully ventilating the bilge and engine space before starting the engine," Mr Williams said.

"Boats with under-floor fuel tanks also pose an increased fire safety risk when it comes to maintenance and operation, and especially refuelling."

Mr Williams said petrol fumes are denser than air and can accumulate in a vessel’s bilge or in low parts of a cabin if not properly ventilated.

"Petrol fumes can easily explode if there are any ignition sources present, such as a naked flame or even an electrical spark," Mr Williams said. "The main risk is just after refuelling. However, fire or explosions can occur at other times if there is even the smallest fuel leak."

Mr Williams said while most fire-related incidents involve larger petrol inboard vessels, PWC operators should also ensure their vessels are properly serviced after a PWC recently exploded in Corowa.

Visit for more information on the prevention of boat fires.


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