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REMEMBER TO VENTILATE BOATS TO AVOID EXPLOSIONS; NATIONAL SAFE BOATING WEEK JUNE 6-12

 COLUMBUS, Ohio, June 9 /PRNewswire/ -- In conjunction with National Safe Boating Week, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Watercraft reminds boaters to regularly inspect the ventilation of enclosed compartments on their craft and use extreme caution when refueling to avoid explosions. Because of the enclosed construction of boats and the fact that fuel vapors are heavier than air, these flammable vapors collect in the bilge or bottom of the boat, creating a potential life threatening situation.
 According to the Division of Watercraft, most boat fires and explosions occur shortly after refueling. One cup of vaporizing gasoline has the explosive equivalency of 15 sticks of dynamite.
 In many cases, explosions and fires could be prevented by taking the following precautions:
 -- Before fueling, turn off all engines, motors and fans and extinguish open flames. Close all ports, doors, windows and hatches to prevent fumes from entering enclosed areas.
 -- Keep nozzle or spout in contact with the mouth of the tank while fueling to prevent static buildup which could product a spark.
 -- Tanks for outboard motors should be filled on the dock or on shore.
 -- After fueling, close openings and wipe up any gasoline spills, properly disposing of the wipe-up rag on shore. Open all ports, doors, windows and hatches and turn on the exhaust blower. Ventilate the boat for at least five minutes and sniff in and around the engine compartment before starting engine. Your nose is the most reliable detector to determine whether gasoline vapors are present.
 -- Regularly check fuel lines for cracks and leaks. Replace older fuel lines.
 -- Always check for gas fumes before starting the engine. If fumes are detected, check to make sure fuel is not leaking anywhere. Run exhaust blowers and ventilate until fumes are no longer detected.
 -- Only use marine parts for repairing engines and ignition systems. Marine starters and alternators are enclosed to contain sparks while the same parts for automotive use are typically of open construction, allowing fuel vapors to be exposed to sparks.
 "Boating is a relatively safe activity, but it has its associated risks like any other hobby or sport," said Watercraft Education Officer Doug Golding. "The inboard boat engine is similar to a car's engine, however, cars have open bottoms, allowing fumes to escape. In boats, gasoline vapors become trapped and accumulate after sinking to the bilge or bottom of the boat. Boaters must use blowers and have proper ventilation to move these vapors out. If you still smell gas don't start the engine."
 Over the past three years, 30 fires and explosions have been reported on boats in Ohio resulting in nine fatalities. Four of those resulted from an explosion on the Cuyahoga River on May 9.
 Additional safe boating questions can be addressed by contacting the local Division of Watercraft District Office: Columbus, 614-265-7018; Springfield, 513-323-1582; Cambridge, 614-439-4076; Akron, 216-644-2265; Newton Falls, 216-872-7755; Cleveland, 216-361-1212; Sandusky, 419-621-1402; Toledo, 419-836-6003; Cincinnati, 513-851-1755; and Portsmouth, 614-353-7668.
 -0- 6/9/93
 /CONTACT: Dennis Evans, watercraft, 614-265-6695, or Mary Hayes, media relations and communications, 614-265-6886, both of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources/


CO: Ohio Department of Natural Resources ST: Ohio IN: SU:

AR -- CL007 -- 0093 06/09/93 10:46 EST
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Date:Jun 9, 1993
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