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Torquay Boat Fire: Every Owner’s Worst Nightmare!

When we undertook our sailing course the instructor told us the worst thing you could have onboard a boat was a fire and tragically this is what we witnessed during our stay in Torquay.

On Saturday 28th May 2022 a 85ft Princess Motorboat named Rendezvous caught fire at MDL Marina in Torquay. The flames quickly engulfed the beautiful vessel, causing her to eventually break loose from her mooring and drift onto the pier. Approximately 3 hours later she sank with a rumoured 8000 litres of fuel onboard.

At the time of the incident we had taken our dinghy around to the main Torquay beach. We had only been there a matter of minutes when we noticed the smoke coming from the direction of the marina. As the smoke thickened it quickly became apparent that this was serious. A sickening feeling descending on us and we quickly jumped back into the dinghy and headed back towards the marina. It was so hard to distinguish exactly whereabouts the smoke was coming from, and from our current position it looked like it was close to where we had moored 😟

Please don’t let it be us!

The journey back seemed to take ages, we were against the tide which didn’t help, and the anxiousness just added to our concerns. ‘Please don’t let it be our home’ we kept saying. All sorts of thoughts race through your mind. Did we turn everything off? Is it the boat next to us?

As we approached the harbour entrance it became clear that the fire was on the other side of the marina. Feelings of worry turned to relief when the realisation set in that our boat was fine. But then feelings of sadness and helplessness crept in. It was quite a bitter sweet moment. We couldn’t do anything but watch as this beautiful vessel was encapsulated by the ravaging flames. We heard a couple of bangs, what we assumed to be gas bottles going up, along with a very strange hissing noise when the tender was engulfed!

She broke free from her mooring and drifted onto (ironically named) Princess Pier. Fortunately the wind direction meant that the flames went away from neighbouring vessels, however the marina staff and other owners did manage to get a couple moved out of the way. The incoming tide also meant she was swept away from the marina and fortunately, if you can call it that, she was moored on the hammerhead; things could have been much, much worse if she had been moored more centrally in the marina.

The nearby beach and promenade were closed as firefighters battled the blaze and eventually she sank.

At this current time it is unknown what caused the fire. We posted a short video of the fire to our You Tube channel which you can view below which shows some of the tragic scenes, but sadly some of the comments made on the video are quite disrespectful. Our thoughts go out to the owners, scenes like this are devastating but thankfully no one was injured. And perhaps one day we will find out what caused the fire, purely so that all of us boat owners can take any relevant steps to prevent a tragedy like this happening again.

VIDEO: Torquay Boat Fire

Watch some of the shocking scenes we witnessed – scary stuff!


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