Oily rags caused a yacht fire in Washington state, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.
Oily rags were the culprit as the United States’ National Transportation Safety Board released a report on a yacht fire last summer in Washington state.
Nobody was onboard the Pegasus when it caught fire at the Peninsula Yacht Basin marina in Gig Harbor in the early hours of July 15, 2022. According to the report, the fire burned for about an hour before it was reported.
“By the time firefighters arrived, the fire had engulfed the aft section of the yacht and the flames could not be completely extinguished,” the report said. “The fire was eventually doused when the vessel sank by its stern at its berth. The Pegasus was a total loss, valued at about $1.5 million. A vessel docked nearby also suffered minor damage.”
Investigators determined that the fire’s probable cause was “spontaneous combustion due to the self-heating of used oil-soaked rags that had been improperly disposed of on the aft deck of the vessel.”
Spontaneous rag combustion might not be first on many crew member’s checklist of potential dangers but according to the report, given the right circumstances it can happen.
“Rags soaked with oil-based finishes, which are commonly used for painting and refinishing, pose a fire hazard if stored improperly,” the report said. “Because they generate heat as they dry, oily rags that are piled up, put together in a trash can, or bagged do not allow the heat to escape, creating a high risk for spontaneous combustion. To prevent a fire, users of oil-based products (or any chemical product) should carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleanup and disposal of rags, steel wool, brushes, and other applicators.”
Tagged Gig Harbor, NTSB, oily rags, yacht fire