Flame Retardancy has been around for quite some time as a safety feature onboard superyachts, and those owners, captains, designers and builders who use it understand its value and importance in the world of fire safety.
However, for some, flame retardancy is not something they are familiar with or have experience of, so we wanted to share some myth busting questions and answers from enquiries we have received over the years.
From 1 October 2012, the law regarding flame retardancy on board superyachts changed and now the regulations are much more stringent for not only the product itself, but how it is applied, by whom and how the whole process is monitored and checked. This means that any work completed after 2012 by companies who are not accredited by a Nominated Test House is void.
It's important that you check your paperwork to make sure you have the cover that you believe you have.
The chemicals used in flame retardant products are poisonous... MYTH
The chemicals used in the fire proofing applications have evolved over the years and now the products used are very different not only in chemical makeup but also in how they are applied. However there are certain companies who use chemicals which contain fungicides, virucides and biocides that could be described as more hazardous. For this reason, you should always ask anyone who is offering flame retardancy about their product and its chemical make up or ask for a copy of their material safety data sheet.
Flame retardant products can protect anything... MYTH
It is extremely important to get advice on what textiles can and can't be treated. Experienced companies can tell you which fabrics are more difficult to treat and also tell you if there are any textiles on board which may not handle in the same way once treated. Applying the correct concentration in the correct volume is vital so it isn't just a case of applying it to the fabrics.
My yacht was flame proofed when I bought it so I am covered... MYTH
All applied flame retardancy products deteriorate and reduce in their effectiveness with cleaning. As we are accredited by MCA MGN 453 (M) our product has been rigorously tested. One such test on textiles, involves testing on various fabrics before and after 10 dry cleans in laboratory conditions to prove that they can withstand the rigours of normal dry cleaning. We recommend that flame retardancy treatments are re-applied annually and incorporated into the normal regular safety regime on board.
I have lots of safety features on board I don't need anything else... MYTH
Sprinkler and fogging systems and extinguishers are fine but wouldn't you want to try and stop a fire before it takes hold? We think being pro-active and applying a level of passive protection is so much easier to deal with than the defensive cure. Many systems need a power source to function or work more efficiently when the vessel is manned; whereas once our product is applied then it becomes operational and effective immediately irrespective of power or people.
We know that all fitted fire safety features have immense value and will fight fire effectively once it has taken hold, however once armed, depending on the system, they can cause considerable damage in order to extinguish the fire, which in turn can take a vessel out of commission to repair. Flame retardants are not designed to replace these systems but to compliment them by offering another line of defence to those present on- board and to the vessel itself.
An approved Flame Retardant will extinguish or prevent a fire taking hold to such a degree before an automated system will arm. A small FR extinguished fire will also be much easier and cost effective to repair and re-commission as only a very small area will be damaged.
It just seems like such a lot of hassle... MYTH
This process is very easy and hassle free. We come to you at any location, afloat or ashore and the whole process is completed onboard. It can be arranged at your convenience and at a similar time to when you have your yacht cleaned so that any downtime is minimised.
The fabrics treated will be damaged... MYTH
We can advise on what the chemical effect will be on any particular fabric or textile. The chemical we use and the way it is applied means that the handle of your often unique and exquisite fabrics will not be altered.
I don't charter my yacht so I don't need flame retardancy... MYTH
This is a very grey area. If a vessel is private, then certain basic safety is still required. If that vessel is coded, then the Flag may require the same standard as a commercial yacht. The key is to always ask your Flag's surveyor what is or is not required. Also, remember to seek advice from your insurer as they may refuse to honour their contract if certain levels of treatment have not been adhered to or are out of date.
By applying flame retardant protection you are adding another level of safety to your vessel and giving peace of mind to those on board.
Flame Screen Limited is a specialist marine company, providing MCA MGN453(M) compliant on-board flame retardant treatments to the super yacht industry, using some of the world's most advanced range of liquid flame retardant technologies. Their expertise in the field of fire prevention means they are able to advise on marine legislative requirements and the resultant compliance required in respect of flame proofing.