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Featured Stories on Boating and Boater Safety

Setting boats ablaze in the name of safety

Daniel K. Rutherford has spent 30 years as a certified marine investigator, looking into fires, explosions, sinkings, boat disappearances. His job is to determine the cause of boat casualties and he investigates about 150 claims a year.

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Understanding boat fires

Here is some insight from Daniel K. Rutherford's three decades as a marine investigator:
• Most fires, excluding arson, are fuel- or electrical-related — "If it's a fuel fire, we're probably dealing with a leak in a hose or fitting, maybe a tank," he says. "It's probably a single-source leak of some kind that results in gas vapor accumulation with some sort of an ignition spark."

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Use the right extinguisher

A fire on a boat is a serious matter. To extinguish it successfully, the fire must be relatively small, and you'll need to get to it quickly, which means having the appropriate fire extinguisher close at hand.

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Silverton sinking: Were 27 people too many to carry?

Three children died when Kandi Won capsized and sank on Long Island Sound while returning from Fourth of July fireworks.While police and the Coast Guard try to determine why a Silverton 34 capsized on its way home from July Fourth fireworks on Long Island, drowning three children in the cabin, the accident has renewed calls for a New York law requiring adults to pass a safety course before operating a powerboat.

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Does that passenger boat meet requirements?

“It’s your responsibility,” Mike Jendrossek says, addressing skippers of the thousands of uninspected U.S. vessels that don’t carry more than six or 12 passengers for hire. The Coast Guard does not inspect these “six-pack” and “12-pack” boats, so it’s up to the operators to be sure they comply with federal safety standards, especially in their construction, says Jendrossek, a Coast Guard marine investigator and boating safety specialist.

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