Watertight Bulk Heads in Ships: What are Their Fire Rating Classifications?

ship docked at sunset

Though shipbuilders take all precautions to ensure that the vessels are durable, there are various elements, which might still destroy your ship or boat. A ship’s safety in its damaged state depends on the integrity and strength of its watertight bulk head. A bulk head is a vertical wall/division within a ship that prevents ingression of water from one section to another.

To prevent the spread of fire through different ship compartments, the panels used for watertight bulk heads in Rockport and any other location are also fire resistant. These panels retain smoke and fire on an affected compartment, depending on their fire class rating.

Here are the three fire rating categories for watertight bulk heads:

Class A Panels

These are constructed using steel or other related materials and contain smoke and fire in an affected compartment for not less than an hour. There are different types of class A panels, including A-60, A-30, A-15, and A-0. The temperature of unaffected compartments should not exceed 160 degrees Celsius for over 60, 30, 15, and 0 minutes, respectively when using these panels.

Class B Panels

These are made of materials approved as incombustible by various classification societies. The panels prevent fire and smoke passage to an unaffected compartment for not less than thirty minutes. There are two categories of class B panels, including B-15 and B-0. When using these panels, temperatures in unaffected sections should be less than 206 degrees for over 15 and 0 minutes.

Class C Panels

These are constructed using materials classified as incombustible. Unlike others,these panels have no requirements on flames and smoke on the unaffected ship compartments. They offer the lowest fire protection.

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Class B and A panels can be used on enclosed ship spaces that are adjacent. These include stairways, galleys, cargo holds, machinery spaces, accommodation area, and tanks. Class C panels are usually used on promenades and open decks where fire safety requirement is minimal.