Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 21-04-2017, 17:16   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: Boston
Boat: Boston Whaler, Conquest 315, 31ft
Posts: 212
3000 explosions a year?

I saw a personal injury lawyer's website that began with the statistic, "In 2010, there were close to 3,000 boat explosions while fueling...".

Whoa, that is a lot of explosions.

I read on a USCG web blog, however that there were "239 fires aboard recreational vessels were reported in 2008, with more than half caused by the ignition of spilled fuel or fuel vapors". Ok, that is a lot less than 3000. Is the lawyer just making some ridiculous exaggeration?

I am considering buying a gas boat and I would like to get a sense for how likely it is to blow up.
__________________

jsc7 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-04-2017, 17:22   #2
Writing Full-Time Since 2014
 
thinwater's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Deale, MD
Boat: PDQ Altair, 32/34
Posts: 6,264
Re: 3000 explosions a year?

One answer is that I have seen two, in part because I dock 200 yards from the fuel dock. But a better answer is that both boats were in poor condition. Neither was badly damaged--just a pop and a few flames that were quickly put out. But scary, none the less.

You are making a commitment to good fuel system maintenance. Not hard, just do it.

Both of my boats have been catamarans. In both cases, the engines were outboards and the fuel tank was in the bridge deck and drained overboard. No fumes and no retained fuel spills. I don't know how I would feel about it if the engines and tanks were in the bilge.
__________________

__________________
Gear Testing--Engineering--Sailing
http://sail-delmarva.blogspot.com/
thinwater is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-04-2017, 18:00   #3
Registered User

Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: Boston
Boat: Boston Whaler, Conquest 315, 31ft
Posts: 212
Re: 3000 explosions a year?

Quote:
Originally Posted by thinwater View Post
...I don't know how I would feel about it if the engines and tanks were in the bilge.
In my case the boat would have inboard engines and tanks.
jsc7 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-04-2017, 18:13   #4
Marine service provider
 
newhaul's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: puget sound washington
Boat: 1968 Islander bahama 24 hull 182, 1963 columbia 29 defender. hull # 60
Posts: 6,762
Re: 3000 explosions a year?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jsc7 View Post
In my case the boat would have inboard engines and tanks.
When you consider how many boats there are in the US with inboard gasoline engines the USCG statistics of 239 the percentage is likely realisticly well over 2 to 5 billion to one against it happening.
__________________
Non illigitamus carborundum
newhaul is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-04-2017, 18:36   #5
Registered User

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: May 2011
Location: Miami Florida
Boat: Ellis Flybridge 28
Posts: 3,561
Re: 3000 explosions a year?

I've owned two inboard gasoline powered boats. My father owned a gasoline inboard.
I start and run the engines on a gasoline powered inboard boat several times a month. I've never had a fire.

I personally know three people who's boats have burned. All of them were diesel inboards.

I am more careful when I start a gasoline engine on a boat. I always use my Mark I Gas Sniffer that I had installed in the middle of my face before I start the blower.
__________________
Retired from Hopkins-Carter Marine Supplies
HopCar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-04-2017, 18:45   #6
Registered User

Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: between the devil and the deep blue sea
Boat: a sailing boat
Posts: 17,705
Re: 3000 explosions a year?

I have never seen a boat explode in my long life.

I have seen maybe 5 boat fires, only one of which to the waterline.

That's sort of contrary to the 3000 figure given that I lived in and about harbours for about 25 years.

I think the figure is a British Standard.

b.
barnakiel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-04-2017, 19:27   #7
Moderator
 
Jim Cate's Avatar

Join Date: May 2008
Location: cruising SW Pacific
Boat: Jon Sayer 1-off 46 ft fract rig sloop strip plank in W Red Cedar
Posts: 14,578
Re: 3000 explosions a year?

Quote:
Originally Posted by newhaul View Post
When you consider how many boats there are in the US with inboard gasoline engines the USCG statistics of 239 the percentage is likely realisticly well over 2 to 5 billion to one against it happening.
While I agree that the probability of a petrol explosion is low in a well maintained and operated boat, i think you need to re-examine your statistical analysis. There are on the order of 15 million registered boats in the USA. Even if every one of them was petrol powered, the 239 fires reported mean that the odds are more like one in 65,000, not one in several BILLION.

I can deal with a bit of exaggeration, but 6 orders of magnitude is too much!

Jim
__________________
Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II now lying Towlers Cove, in Broken Bay NSW for a while
Jim Cate is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 21-04-2017, 19:35   #8
Senior Cruiser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: May 2013
Location: Oregon to Alaska
Boat: Wheeler Shipyard 83' ex USCG
Posts: 2,366
Re: 3000 explosions a year?

When young I ran a couple gas boats. And when I was a fisherman, there still were a few ocean trollers that were gas. If you run a clean boat, use the blower before starting, have spark proof alternator, starter, and don't smoke when fueling, you'll be ok. I expected this thread to be about propane explosions. I've seen a bunch of those.
Lepke is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-04-2017, 20:03   #9
Marine service provider
 
newhaul's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: puget sound washington
Boat: 1968 Islander bahama 24 hull 182, 1963 columbia 29 defender. hull # 60
Posts: 6,762
Re: 3000 explosions a year?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
While I agree that the probability of a petrol explosion is low in a well maintained and operated boat, i think you need to re-examine your statistical analysis. There are on the order of 15 million registered boats in the USA. Even if every one of them was petrol powered, the 239 fires reported mean that the odds are more like one in 65,000, not one in several BILLION.

I can deal with a bit of exaggeration, but 6 orders of magnitude is too much!

Jim
Jim I exagerated as a way to make a point however im sure your 15 million number is very low . That number is from the uscg and they dont track boats that havent been licensed this year. I know of several hundred just in my local area that are used but not curently licensed. Inland lake use not uscg monitored waters.
__________________
Non illigitamus carborundum
newhaul is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-04-2017, 05:40   #10
Registered User
 
CaptTom's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Southern Maine
Boat: Prairie 36 Coastal Cruiser
Posts: 1,516
Re: 3000 explosions a year?

I suspect the 3,000 number is pure BS.

But it happens, and it happens more than a lot of people think. I just searched "boat explosion" in Google News and found four headlines this month. My guess is that number is closer to reality than 3,000 per year.

It's not uncommon because many small, gasoline-powered recreational boats are poorly maintained, are not maintained with ignition-protected parts, and are started without sniffing for fumes or running the blower after refueling.

It doesn't help that dock hands at many small-boat marina fuel docks are quick to push a boat away when finished fueling so the next boat in line can get in.

I always tell people on these boats not to pay until they've done the sniff test and started the blower. That's sure to keep you tied up until it's safe to start the engine.
CaptTom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-04-2017, 08:23   #11
Registered User

Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: South Shore Harbour League City, TX
Boat: 85 Endeavor 35' 5"
Posts: 21
Re: 3000 explosions a year?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jsc7 View Post
I saw a personal injury lawyer's website that began with the statistic, "In 2010, there were close to 3,000 boat explosions while fueling...".

Whoa, that is a lot of explosions.

I read on a USCG web blog, however that there were "239 fires aboard recreational vessels were reported in 2008, with more than half caused by the ignition of spilled fuel or fuel vapors". Ok, that is a lot less than 3000. Is the lawyer just making some ridiculous exaggeration?

I am considering buying a gas boat and I would like to get a sense for how likely it is to blow up.
I have a friend who was burned over a great deal of his body - started up an engine without blowing the vapor space first
texingram1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-04-2017, 09:01   #12
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2016
Posts: 151
Re: 3000 explosions a year?

I love a bit of math. Correct me if I am wrong but 10,164 posts since 2008 equals roughly 3.4 per day.Allowing for your wifes large contribution on top, when do you get time to cruise?
robbievardon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-04-2017, 09:10   #13
Moderator
 
Dockhead's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Cowes (Winter), Helsinki (Summer); Cruising the Baltic Sea this year!
Boat: Cutter-Rigged Moody 54
Posts: 24,409
Re: 3000 explosions a year?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jsc7 View Post
I saw a personal injury lawyer's website that began with the statistic, "In 2010, there were close to 3,000 boat explosions while fueling...".

Whoa, that is a lot of explosions.

I read on a USCG web blog, however that there were "239 fires aboard recreational vessels were reported in 2008, with more than half caused by the ignition of spilled fuel or fuel vapors". Ok, that is a lot less than 3000. Is the lawyer just making some ridiculous exaggeration?

I am considering buying a gas boat and I would like to get a sense for how likely it is to blow up.

What kind of gas boat? I have owned gas powered runabouts, and all my dinghies have been gas powered. I still own a gas powered lake boat barge. In my opinion gas powered boats are reasonably safe if well maintained and operated with care. I have seen a gas powered boat explode, horribly injuring the owner, and I would not be comfortable saying "the odds are a zillion to one, therefore I just won't worry about it." You must worry about the small chance, of such a horrible risk. And since they blow up almost every day, I wouldn't say it's such a small chance, either. But good maintenance and care in operation greatly improves the odds.

I wouldn't want a gas engine on a cruising sailboat, though.
Dockhead is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-04-2017, 09:15   #14
Senior Cruiser
 
Cheechako's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Skagit City, WA
Posts: 21,297
Re: 3000 explosions a year?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
While I agree that the probability of a petrol explosion is low in a well maintained and operated boat, i think you need to re-examine your statistical analysis. There are on the order of 15 million registered boats in the USA. Even if every one of them was petrol powered, the 239 fires reported mean that the odds are more like one in 65,000, not one in several BILLION.

I can deal with a bit of exaggeration, but 6 orders of magnitude is too much!

Jim
Not to mention that of all the boats out there, probably one in ten get used....
__________________
"I spent most of my money on Booze, Broads and Boats. The rest I wasted" - Elmore Leonard











Cheechako is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-04-2017, 09:19   #15
Moderator
 
Adelie's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: La Ciudad de la Misión Didacus de Alcalá en Alta California, Virreinato de Nueva España
Boat: Cal 20
Posts: 8,281
Re: 3000 explosions a year?

Quote:
Originally Posted by newhaul View Post
When you consider how many boats there are in the US with inboard gasoline engines the USCG statistics of 239 the percentage is likely realisticly well over 2 to 5 billion to one against it happening.
What you're implying is that every man woman and child owns 1450 to 3525 motor vessels EACH.

As of 2015 there were 15.7M registered recreational vessels. Let's bump that to 20M to account for states that don't require registration.

20M : 239 is equivalent to 83,681 : 1.

A majority are outboard driven [I suspect a super-majority but I'm not going to put in the effort to dig than info out] which would have less of a problem with explosions due to fume accumulation.

Let's call it 20,000:1 odds of having a fume explosion on an inboard gas boat. The odds of dying in the explosion are lower.

Odds of dying in a car accident are 8425:1
Odds of being dying of cancer are 592:1
Odds of being murdered in the US are 19,000:1
__________________

__________________
Num Me Vexo?
SailboatData
A house is but a boat so poorly built and so firmly run aground no one would think to try and refloat it.
Adelie is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Med for a year, Carib for a year, 2016-17,18, what new Cat should I consider? Helia 44 Multihull Sailboats 56 02-01-2015 15:23
Nuclear Explosions Katiusha Pacific & South China Sea 6 23-11-2012 14:52
Cruise Half Year - Work Half Year? windsaloft Boat Ownership & Making a Living 70 15-06-2010 16:15
Year 6 on 10 Year Varnish CaptHead Construction, Maintenance & Refit 1 14-07-2008 14:25



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 19:53.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.