Some of our on-board safety systems are fully automatic including:
- Carbon monoxide and smoke detectors
- The bilge fire suppression system
- Gas fume/vapor detectors
Other safety equipment will require use by you and/or your crew. These include:
- Fire extinguishers
- Provided personal flotation devices (PFDs or more commonly known as life jackets)
If you are unfamiliar with any safety equipment on board, your houseboat instructor will make sure you are comfortable with its operation and use prior to your departure from the marina. When you arrive at the marina for your houseboat orientation, a qualified and experienced Houseboat Instructor will review all onboard systems and safety equipment. Most “Captains” find it helpful to assign one or two more “Mates” to take part in this important orientation so be sure to ask a couple of reliable guests to join you for the orientation.
Houseboat Safety Equipment and Systems:
- Fire Extinguishers
- Marine Band Radio
- Global Positioning System (GPS)
- Throw Rings & Orange SOS Flag
- First Aid Kit
- 12v Electric Bilge Pumps
- Gasoline Fume Detector
- Automatic Engine Compartment Fire Suppression System
- Anchors & Ropes (appropriate to your houseboat type)
Your houseboat will be equipped with multiple smoke detectors. You will test and review the location of your smoke detectors when you check out your houseboat prior to departure.
Carbon Monoxide (CO) Detectors
CO Detectors are installed in all cabins, hallways and living areas of your houseboat. These CO Detectors are extremely sensitive to even minimal levels of CO and will beep and flash to alert you to the presence of CO so that you can take the appropriate action.
CO Detectors play an important role in houseboating safety since carbon monoxide is colorless, odorless, tasteless and mixes evenly with air. Early symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include irritated eyes, headaches, nausea, weakness and dizziness. These symptoms are often confused with seasickness or too much sun. Prolonged exposure can lead to serious illness or death.
On your houseboat, carbon monoxide from your generator(s) is vented upwards through the “stacks” on the top deck to prevent a build-up around the back deck area. However, there is still a possibility that carbon monoxide can stay near the boat, particularly in very calm weather conditions and become a hazard.
Marine Band Radio
Marine Band Radios are included on all rental houseboats and most power boats. Your Marine Band Radio is your primary source of communication with marina facilities and services while on the lake. When you go through our houseboat orientation, you will be taught how to use the radio properly and which channels you can connect to. All marinas and the local authorities (NPS, Coast Guard or US Forest Service) monitor Channel 16. If you are new to marine radio use, it can be a little intimidating at first. Your Houseboat Instructor will demonstrate your radio as part of your check out procedure.
Automatic Engine Compartment Fire Suppression System
Your houseboat is equipped with an automatically activated Temperature Sensor Valve on a specially designed fire extinguisher that is installed in the engine compartment(s). This valve is designed to discharge when the sensor reaches its activation point. The suppression system is monitored at the helm and a green indicator light illuminates to indicate the system is active. Your Houseboat Instructor will review this system with you during checkout.
Anchors and Ropes
Houseboats are required to be beached and properly anchored/staked by nightfall. Your houseboat is equipped with ample anchors and high-quality marine ropes that are able to secure even the largest vessel when properly deployed.
A powerboat or personal watercraft comes in handy for scouting beaches and finding just the right spot to tie up since they are more nimble near the shoreline than the larger houseboat. However, if you won’t be renting an additional powerboat for your trip, be sure to ask for a recommended beaching spot with one of our Houseboat Instructors before you leave the marina.
If you have any additional questions about your houseboat trip, be sure to bring them with you for your Houseboat Orientation.