Canyon Explosion – Rich I

Date – April 2018

Several years back we were heading to the New England Canyons south of Cape Cod to go tuna fishing aboard our 35’ express, sport fish, Angler. She was powered by a pair of reliable diesels that, by reputation, are far less prone to having any type of fire related problems as compared to gas powered boats.

At 3:00 AM we were about an hour into our 4 hour trip when there was an explosion in the engine room and the deck hatch blew open to reveal that the whole area was ablaze. My son, at the helm, quickly cut the throttles, placed the gears in neutral and tried to shut down the engines; they didn’t respond. He next attempted to shut down the generator, thinking that a diesel boat fire could have been started by a 110 volt source; it didn’t shut down either.

Within a couple of minutes the helm deck and cabin below were completely filled with acrid smoke. Flames were erupting from the starboard side of the helm deck, steering station and aft deck area. We grabbed our Revere Offshore Commander, a handheld VHF and instructed our 4 person crew to get to the aft end of the cockpit. We couldn’t get back inside the helm area to get life jackets so our next move was to deploy the raft. By this time, again, only a few minutes following the explosion, flames were starting to spread to the forward section of the cockpit; we deployed the raft, got aboard, and cast off.

After careful review and checking with reputable sources we decided to buy the Revere raft. It was a life saver! It opened up within seconds after we pulled the activation cord. We got onto the raft, called the Coast Guard, and paddled away for our burning boat. We were pleased to find our raft to be very well equipped with safety and survival gear. After about an hour or so the Coast Guard picked us up and brought us to the Woods Hole Station. On our next journey we will pilot our Bertram to Florida. It will be equipped with a new 8 person valise Revere Offshore Commander before it leaves the dock. We are grateful to Revere, we have complete trust in their products, and will not leave port without one of their rafts aboard.’