NOTE: A non-rechargeable (disposable) fire extinguisher older than 12 years will no longer be accepted for use after April 20, 2022. Refer to the date of manufacture stamped on the bottle. For example, “05” indicates 2005.
A marine-type fire extinguisher approved by the US Coast Guard must be carried as part of the safety equipment on boats and personal watercraft where engine or fuel fire hazards may occur.
A fire extinguisher is required by law if your boat has an engine and meets any of the following conditions:
Carrying a fire extinguisher in other types of boats is not legally required, but it is highly recommended. Unexpected fires can occur, so being prepared is always a wise idea.
According to the USCG, fire extinguishers must be on board a vessel and easily accessible. Consider the ease of access to the extinguisher when deciding where to store it. Ensure that the fire extinguishers are mounted securely on their hangers or brackets to ensure their effective operation.
A fire extinguisher can be classified into three types, each designed for a specific type of fire:
In Class A fires, the fuel source consists of combustible solids such as wood or paper.
Class B fires, however, are caused by flammable liquid fuels, such as gasoline, oil, or grease.
The last type of fire is a Class C fire, an electrical fire.
The US Coast Guard requires that smaller boats carry at least one marine fire extinguisher of Class B-I. In the case of larger vessels, however, more extinguishers are required. Boats between 26 and 40 feet in length are required to have two (two) Class B-I fire extinguishers.
The maintenance of your boat should include a monthly inspection of your fire extinguisher. Doing this ensures that your extinguisher is always ready to be used in an emergency. The extinguishers should not be expired or appear to have been previously used. They must be maintained in good working order.