A boat fire at Airlie Beach on Saturday July 8.
A boat fire at Airlie Beach on Saturday July 8. Contributed

Engine fire engulfs boat off Almora Islet

AN ENGINE fire is assumed responsible for the sinking of a late-model Riviera motor yacht on Saturday morning.

Whitsunday Volunteer Marine Rescue media officer Norbert Goss said a rescue boat was dispatched to Almora Islet after a 000 call was received at about 10.30am on Saturday.

Whitsunday Water Police were already at the scene.

The VMR vessel picked up members of the Queensland Fire and Emergency Service who brought specialist on-water fire fighting equipment.

Arriving at the boat, which was already engulfed in flames, Mr Goss said two passengers and a dog had abandoned ship by means of a tender.

QFES members doused flames, attached a tow line to the vessel and attempted to pull it into shallower water.

This exercise was repeated after the first tow line broke and eventually the fire spread beneath the water line and the boat sunk in shallow water.

Mr Goss said boaties needed to be aware of the danger of inboard-engines on boats.

"Generally, there are certain motors that sometimes have issues with fumes in the engine room and all it needs is a spark to ignite (them),” he said.

Rags in the bilge can also self-combust.

Mr Goss recommended the installation of bilge sensors, which are designed to sound an alarm when flammable fumes are detected, leaking gas bottles can also provide an ignition source.


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