Injured in a boat fire? Call (612) 337-6126

Elliot Olsen is a nationally respected boat fire lawyer who has regained millions for his clients. If you or a family member were injured in a boat fire and believe negligence played a part, please give Elliot a call at (612) 337-6126 for a free consultation. He understands the hardship suffered in a boat fire, and he can help you recover from such a potentially devastating event.

Boat fires are not a common occurrence. According to statistics compiled by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), there were 1,840 fires on water vessels in the five years from 2006 through 2010. That’s a litte less than 370 yearly, or about one a day.

Of those 1,840 fires, more than 70 percent (1,310) occurred on powered boats under 65 feet in length. Additionally, those fires resulted in the deaths of two people and injuries to another 95.

On the face of it, those don’t appear to be very large numbers. But in 2018 alone, there have been several headline-making boat fires that give one pause:

Sept. 2: A Santa Barbara boat fire claimed the lives of 34 people. The fire aboard the Conception, a diving and fishing vessel, blocked any escape for the 34 people sleeping below deck, investigators said. 

July 13: Five people were injured, and three of them were hospitalized, after an explosion and fire at Kings River Marina on Table Rock Lake in Missouri.

June 22: Six people were injured when a boat exploded and burned on a boat ramp along Lake Catherine near Hot Springs, Arkansas, about 55 miles southwest of Little Rock.

June 15: Five family members, including a 6-year-old girl, from Kansas City were injured in a boat explosion on Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri, about 150 miles southeast of Kansas City.

Burn injuries

The levels of severity for burn injuries are:

  • First-degree: damages the outer layer of the skin (epidermis); typically heal in 3-4 weeks.
  • Second-degree: damage the outer layer and the layer beneath it (dermis); looks red and blistered, and is often swollen and painful.
  • Third-degree: more severe because they destroy both layers of skin; hair follicles, sweat glands, and other tissues also experience damage.
  • Fourth-degree: involve injury to deeper tissues, such as muscle and tendons, as well as bone.
  • Fifthdegree: extend past the fat and start to burn through muscle.
  • Sixth-degree: result in charred bone; most likely will require skin grafting or amputation.

Call for free consultation

If you or a loved one are injured – or worse, killed – because of a boat fire, you might have reason to contact a personal injury lawyer who specializes in such cases. Elliot Olsen is one of the best. Call today: (612) 337-6126.

Avoiding boat fires

According to statistics compiled by the Boat Owners Association of the United States (BoatUS), fire is the fifth-ranked cause of all boat losses (taken from insurance claims files). Here is a look at the top six causes of boat fires, and what you can do to prevent them:

  1. Non-boat sources: Twenty-five percent of the time, a boat burns when something else goes up in flames — the boat next to it, the marina, the garage, or even a neighbor’s house. These circumstances are essentially out of your hands, but a quick look around the area where you house your boat is always a good idea.
  2. Engine electrical: For boats that are older than 25 years, decrepit wiring harnesses often are responsible for fires. Because most boats that are this old have relatively simple electrical systems, an electrical technician can put one together for you and give you peace of mind.
  3. Other DC electrical: The most common cause of battery-related fires is faulty installation — reversing the positive and negative cables or misconnecting them in series (when they should be in parallel). To prevent such an occurrence, take a picture and label the cables. Use red fingernail polish to mark the positive lug. Simply put: Do everything to hook it up right the first time.
  4. AC electrical: Most AC electrical fires start between the shore power pedestal and the boat’s shore power inlet. Inspect the shore power cord routinely (especially the connector ends) and – for boats older than 10 years – inspect or replace the boat’s shore power inlet.
  5. Other engine: A fire can start when an engine overheats because of a blocked raw-water intake or mangled impeller. The latter can result when a boat is grounded, or it is being used in mucky waters. Check the engine compartment after getting underway and replace the impeller every two years.
  6. Batteries: On older outboards, easily the most common cause of fires is the voltage regulator. At 10 years of age, failure rates on these important electrical components begin to rise. Once a regulator hits 15 years old, replace it.

(Note: BoatUS is an American association of boat owners offering various services supporting recreational boat and trailer towing activities.)