Weekend boat explosion on Table Rock prompts warning for boaters

Shell Knob, MO -- A boat explosion at King River Marina near Shell Knob on Saturday July 13 was one of several boat fires or explosions so far this summer in the Ozarks.

"The staff did an outstanding job. First of all, they got the injured out of the way. They grabbed fire extinguishers," Kings River Marina Manager Todd Ketchum said.

Two of the people on-board had moderate injuries, the two other people had only minor injuries. People working at the dock weren't hurt.

"They tried to put out the fire the best they could, then it got to the point where they had to get away from the fire," Ketchum said.

Premiere Marine in Kimberling City Owner Jerry Hunt says it has been an odd season when it comes to the number of boat fires both on Table Rock Lake and Lake of the Ozarks.

"Usually we will have maybe one or two a year but we've had just a rash of them lately," Hunt said.

Hunt says several things can cause a boat to explode or catch fire.

"Fuel vapors are heavier than air, so they'll accumulate down in the engine compartment," Hunt said.

He says boaters can keep the compartment cleared out by running the bilge blower after fueling.

"Run the blower at least 30 seconds after fueling," Hunt said.

He also says it's important to use approved marine parts. The U.S. Coast Guard requires ignition protected starters and alternators.

"You know, there's a reason they're more expensive than automotive parts," Hunt said.

Plus, he says don't forget to perform regular boat maintenance.

"[Check for] bad wiring, loose connections on the battery, anything that will cause a spark," Hunt said. "Everybody be very careful out there."

Ketchum says Kings River is working to get all pumps replaced on the dock. Once the investigation is complete and the insurance company gives them the go-ahead, they'll have new pumps put in and the dock repaired.

Two gas pumps are still working, so customers can still get gas at the marina.

Read the original version of this article at www.ky3.com.