Smoke alarms belong on boats


To the Editor:

I read your posted story about the unfortunate Menemsha boat fire (June 22, “Menemsha harbormaster, passing boater rescue nine from burning boat”). Why did the owner not have smoke alarms installed on his vessel? More than anything else, smoke alarms alert the occupants of a fire quickly enough for the occupant to extinguish a manageable fire before it becomes an unmanageable fire. Boats offer challenging egress situations, and are constructed of extremely combustible materials. Large quantities of gasoline or diesel fuel are also contained: but no smoke alarm? Smoke alarms alert people to electrical fires all the time. The occupant shuts off the power to the faulty circuit, and may have a small fire to extinguish. Obviously, smoke alarms are required and installed everywhere we go. They have also been required and installed in unconventional structures like trains, planes, and yes, RVs. Why wasn’t there a smoke alarm in this man’s boat? Had there been a smoke alarm, the owner would have likely extinguished a small fire and continued safely to harbor.

John McDevit
Grasonville, Md.