Keuka Boat Explosion. How Did it Happen?
HAMMONDSPORT, NY (WENY) -- All was quiet as boaters were enjoying 37th Annual Wine Country Boat Show on Keuka Lake, until a 1955 Century Coronado exploded on the shores. At approximately 3 p.m. on Saturday a 1955 Century Coronado exploded, injuring both people on board. One of the injured had to be air lifted to a hospital, and according to authorities, fume built up in the boat's bilge and a spark cause the explosion.
"Probably a spark from a generator or whatever, on the boat igniting the fumes and causing the explosion," says Edward Wrightman, antique boat expert. Edward Wightman is a historic boat expert at the Finger Lakes Boating Museum in Hammdonsport, he has been working with these types of boats since the 1940s.
He also says that because of this risk all boats are equipped with a safety mechanism in order to prevent an explosion. "All boats come equipped with an engine compartment bilge area vent system. There's a blower. In the New York State Boaters Safety Program they recommend that blower operate for four minutes before you try and start your engine."
This mechanism purges the system of any fumes that may collected in the bilge over time. Wightman tells me it is always a good idea to take a moment and smell the inside of the bilge.
Wightman says, "Pay attention to the smell of gas, if you smell gasoline you know you have a leak somewhere.You need to take care of that before you go any further. Find it and repair it."
Taking these into consideration before you head out on the water could not only save your boat, but your life as well.