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Fire onboard 76 Islander

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  • Fire onboard 76 Islander

    Yesterday turned ugly on the way home from fishing. First the wind picked up and we wound up fighting 35 to 45 mph winds and 2 to 3 foot rollers breaking. The rollers are not a concern since I have an Islander and it is a pretty deep hull and loves to plow through. I do only have the old 120 HP I/O so plowing through was all we could do. We got her back to the dock and managed to snap one dock line but my sons jumped into action and brought the boat back around to the dock and we doubled up all lines and then got the boat on the trailer. I had just gotten everything strapped down and ready to head home when I climbed in the boat to grab my cell phone off the dash. I noticed smoke coming from under my dash panel. I am taking a guess that the hard ride and 1976 wiring that something shorted out and proceeded to ignite the gauge to engine harness. None of my circuit breakers did their jobs. Cut the batteries immediately and then proceeded to spray my extinguisher up through the gunnel so I could get the fire out that was burning in an inaccessible area. Between the extinguisher and my oldest son running and filling buckets with water from the launch we kept her from burning up. Needless to say I will be installing a whole new breaker panel and new wires throughout. I am sure glad I kept up with my extinguisher to make sure it was good to go. I will be installing 2 in the boat now. Where the current one was mounted I had to go through the acrid smoke to the drivers compartment to grab it. I am going to keep one there and another back by the engine.

  • #2
    Oh boy...good thing this happened when you were on dry land...could've ended badly!

    Breakers trip from excessive current. If you have a bad connection (for example The switch for the bilge pump), it will actually be resistive...like a tiny space heater in your control panel.
    aka BlueFin16
    1975 StarCraft SuperSport and 70Hp Evinrude Restoration Thread

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    • #3
      I am installing an all new breaker panel and fuse panel. Every wire will be replaced. The harnesses are not that difficult. I did just find the ignition point though. I switched to the port tank to help level the fuel load and that is what had the bad wire from the sending unit. I found where it arc'd. The previous owner put new tanks in and did a bunch of splicing in the harness and where the wires were run there was zero chance of them not rubbing. I wish people would spend more time running wires correctly. When I replaced the fuel lines last year i realized that the fuel line was run through the wrong area and it was zip tied to the harness that just caught on fire. I am extremely lucky I moved all the fuel lines before this happened. It could have been way worse.

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      • #4
        Holy smokes! No punn intended!... that sounds like my old house. It was wired during the early-70's...during the Cu shortage so it had aluminum in the walls.

        the previous owners pigtailed Cu leads to the aluminum at Every! Single! Outlet! (huge snafu!) My wife was running a space heater off of one of the longer runs the year we moved in. I smelled smoke..then saw smoke in my daughter's playroom coming from an outlet. I popped off the outlet cover just as the wirenut was melting off their pigtail connection!

        i couldn't replace the aluminum w/ Cu fast enough! (ex industrial electrician)

        speaking of wire, be sure its tinned. Good luck!
        aka BlueFin16
        1975 StarCraft SuperSport and 70Hp Evinrude Restoration Thread

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        • #5
          That was a very scary story!!! Glad to hear everyone was not hurt and you were able to contain the fire and save the Islander..

          Just when I thought I was really learning, I continue to find out how little I really know.

          Project thread
          Deck Boat https://forums.iboats.com/showthread.php?t=471173
          StarCraft https://forums.iboats.com/forum/owner...-18-ss-restore

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          • #6
            That could have been so much worse! Good thing it didn’t happen out there

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            • #7
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              Oh wow! Scary stuff but if it had to happen on shore is the place.
              1979 V5 SS140 HP Merc ...... 1970 18' Chieftain IO restoration
              1978 16' SS160 SeaNymph .. 1978 14' Seafarer

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