ENJOY 20% SAVINGS WITH OUR FALL SPECIAL!
At Great Lakes Boat Top we have more than 22,000 original canvas patterns.
That means you get replacement canvas that ;ts and looks as good as it did on
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During our Fall Special, BoatU.S. members get 20% o; any replacement
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October 31, 2014.
• Original canvas patterns dating back to 1993.
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Make your boat look brand new and SAVE 20% on
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O;er available to retail customers only. Not valid in conjunction with other
promotional o;ers. Expires October 31, 2014.
Great Lakes BoatUS Oct 2014.indd 1 8/11/2014 10:14:04 AM
pushed her out the companionway. Turning
back to the mêlée, I could see the flames had
not yet combusted anything of substance.
When we’d ordered this boat, we requested
only fire-retardant materials be used, but that
just meant we had a few extra seconds before
something burst into flames. The nearest fire
extinguisher was engulfed in flames. In the
cockpit, Liz frantically tried to break the zip-tie holding the safety pin of another of our
extinguishers. Grabbing it from her, I ripped
the pin from the handle and aimed. With
a few short directed blasts, the flames vanished. This entire nightmare had taken less
than 60 seconds. Recovering from shock, we
collapsed on the swim platform and shook
uncontrollably. Neither of us had anything
to say as the sun sank beneath the waves
on the horizon.
JUST DUMB LUCK
I’d considered myself immune to the idiotic
incidents that sometimes befall novice boaters, a confidence founded in thousands of
watery miles traveled over 47 years without
ever having to call for assistance, or having an
accident. We were knowledgeable, prepared,
and experienced, ready for anything that
came our way … we thought! When the proverbial hit the fan, however, Liz and I realized
that a split second can change everything, no
matter how well-prepared you think you are.
We were just lucky.
Amazingly little damage was done to the
boat. The rugs took the worst of the fire,
sparing the floor. The bulkheads had heavy
soot but were unscathed. The biggest mess
to clean up was from the fire retardant.
Miraculously, neither of us had been injured.
Liz was spared from the fireball by the galley
counter, but was bruised from her fall down
the port-hull stairs. Only inches from the
blast, my hearing took the worst of it, but I
was only lightly seared. My eyebrows grew
back, what little hair I had got trimmed, and
my leg had suffered worse sunburns. My
glasses were broken but most likely saved
I’m sure there would have been a different outcome if the jet of unspent fuel had
sprayed either of us directly. At the very
least, the time needed to save one of us
from flames would have spelled the loss of
We had practiced fire drills, knew exactly
where the fire extinguishers were stored and
how to use them. But we were also very fortunate because, really, we were unprepared
for the actual event. The Lampe Berger is
now history, of course, never to see a boat
again. Liz reminds me that I’m no longer
above making amateur mistakes. The thing
is, none of us are.
Gaz and Liz Haring regularly travel the ICW
from Mexico to Maine, with summer trips to the
Caribbean aboard Pegasus.
HOW TO USE A FIRE EXTINGUISHER
If you’ve never discharged a fire extinguisher, you’ll do fine if you can remember PASS — PULL
out the pin, AIM the nozzle at the base of the fire, SQUEEZE the handle, and SWEEP the contents from side to side across the base of the fire until it goes out. But it helps to see how fire
extinguishers work in the real world, and to have some idea of how many seconds they last.
Check out the BoatU.S. Foundation fire extinguisher test, and watch videos to see how they
perform on different types of fires. www.BoatUS.org/findings/46