16 May 2014
Four people have escaped serious injury after their ski boat burst into flames on Easter Saturday on the River Murray.
The man, a woman and two male youths were near Morgan when the engine exploded.
The woman and the boys jumped to safety.
When it became too dangerous to continue to fight the flames, the man was assisted from the vessel by one of the department’s Marine Safety Officers, who was quickly on the scene.
The officer then worked to control the risks to other river users by setting up an exclusion zone and ensuring other emergency agencies were called.
According to theadvertiser.com.au
all three suffered burns to their faces and were in a stable condition.
The vessel sank adjacent to the river bank just outside of a line of reeds and is not considered a navigational hazard.
Departmental officers will liaise with the vessel operator to ensure the vessel is removed.
While the cause of the accident isn’t known, it is a reminder of the need to keep vessels in good condition, A/Manager of Marine Operations and Response, Peter Thomas said.
“Unfortunately in the last few years we’ve seen a number of engine fires on the River Murray,” he said.
“There are a number of precautions that can be taken to reduce the risk of running an engine.
“You should get your boat serviced regularly, at least annually, and before use especially if you haven’t started it for a while.
“You should also check the fuel system for leaks and take care when refuelling to prevent the build up of vapour.”
Maintenance steps to reduce the risk of fire:
• keep it in good condition, including regular servicing
• keep it tuned to reduce exhaust emissions and maximise fuel economy
• check the fuel lines for cracks and splits
• ensure engine bays are ventilated to reduce the chance of fuel vapour build-up and possible explosion
• fit a tray underneath to catch any spills or drips
• if your engine runs on petrol, ensure it is properly grounded to reduce static electricity build-up, particularly on hot days
• lift the cover before the first start-up of the day to clear fume build-up
The fuel system
• don’t fill the fuel tank to the brim—fuel expands as it warms up
• ensure your fuel gauge is accurate
• where practical, install an anti-surge valve in the fuel vent line to prevent fuel leaks
For more information on fuel and fire prevention go to the ‘Safety on the water’ section of the South Australian Recreational Boating Safety Handbook (page 38)