If you see smoke does it mean there’s a fire?

No but it may be a fire about to start!

A few causes of smoke

Smoke can be from a wide range of sources, some of which include:

  1. Slipping belts
  2. Leaking exhausts or turbo chargers
  3. Electrical fittings, fixtures and equipment
  4. Faulty clutches
  5. Overheating oil
  6. The cook burning the toast, oops it’s time to get a new cook!
  7. And many other sources you can probably think of

While it may be just smoke now, in many cases it’s likely to be a fire about to start.

So…how do you deal with a smoke situation when you see it?

It’s simple, treat it as a fire because if it’s not now, there’s a high chance it’s going to be very shortly.

I don’t know a Master that would get upset if you raised the alarm for a fire and they found out it wasn’t a fire, in fact, I think most would be pleased.

Shorlink’s Recommendation

My recommendations for dealing with smoke are:

  1. Treat it like it is a fire
  2. Keep all exhaust clamps and fittings properly secured
  3. Monitor electrical fittings, fixtures and equipment
  4. Ensure oil is maintained at the recommend temperature


My top tips are:

  • Undertake regular inspections of items that have the potential to cause smoke or become a fire
  • Don’t use old cooking oil or fats. This not only cause smoke it’s a fire hazard in itself
  • Ensure all crew know where fire extinguishers are stowed because if it turns into a fire you’re going to need them!