Where is the Best Place to Store a Fire Extinguisher on a Boat?
When you’re out on your boat, all you want to do is relax and enjoy some quiet time, away from all stress and worries.
But that shouldn’t mean you forget all about safety concerns. One of the essential tools for safety on your boat should be a fire extinguisher.
But where is the best place to store a fire extinguisher on a boat?
Find out about the best storage space on the boat for a fire extinguisher – and a little more about this safety device.
Where is the best place to mount a fire extinguisher on a boat?
A fire extinguisher must be kept in a place on the boat which is easily accessible and is easy to spot.
If you cannot reach it on time, there might be a fatal fire incident on the boat.
Another factor to consider is to keep the device in that location on the boat which is most likely to catch fire, like the kitchen and engine room.
The hull, cabin, bilge, and high traffic areas can also be appropriate places for the fire extinguisher.
Other than this, mounting the extinguisher near the exit to these areas on the boat can be a good idea.
Things to consider while choosing the best place to store a fire extinguisher on a boat
Here are a few things you need to consider when you buy a fire extinguisher and place it on the boat.
1. Where is the fire most likely to occur?
Think about the place where there are flammable liquids like the boat engine room.
If you have a kitchen area or a B.B.Q. grill on the boat, there’s always the risk of a fire breaking out.
It is important to keep the fire extinguisher in an easily accessible spot.
It is pretty much the same as your home, where you keep the fire extinguisher in a place most likely to catch a first for some reason.
2. Where do passengers spend the most time on the boat?
Which part of the boat has the maximum traffic?
It’s essential to make sure that the most populated part of the boat is always safe, even on the off chance that there’s a fire. So you need to keep the fire extinguisher near the captain of the boat as well as the spot where all the passengers are.
3. How clean and maintained is your boat?
Is the cleanliness of your boat essential for its safety?
Indeed, it is! If the boat is not organized enough and is filled with debris or obstructions lying all around, you will find it difficult to reach the fire extinguisher on time.
So even if you keep the fire extinguisher in an easy-to-reach spot, it will be hard to reach the tool anyway.
The law about extinguishers
You are legally required to place a fire extinguisher on the boat if it has:
- closed compartments for storing the fuel tank
- a double bottom that isn’t sealed up to the hull
- enclosed living areas
- heavy fuel tanks installed
- an inboard engine
If your boat meets the criteria, you will need to keep at least one fire extinguisher.
Even if your boat does not meet the requirements and it is not mandatory for you to keep a fire extinguisher on the boat, it is recommended that you do.
This will ensure that you and your riders are always safe. After all, the tool is quite inexpensive, besides being quick and easy to install.
Other relevant read on pontoon boats:
- Can you ski behind a pontoon boat?
- Best pontoon boat accessories 2021 (that you can’t miss to have)
- Which of the Following is Recommended Maintenance for an Inboard Boat?
Which fire extinguisher is right for your boat?
The law defines the kind of fire extinguisher you need on your boat.
You’re also legally bound to have a USCG-approved fire extinguisher. There are primarily two types of fire extinguishers that you can choose from, B1 and B2, depending on the boat length.
The rules state the following –
- Boats measuring less than 26 ft must have 1 B1 fire extinguisher.
- Boats measuring between 26 ft and 40 ft must have 2 B1 OR 1 B2 fire extinguishers.
- Boats measuring between 40ft and 65 ft must have 3 B1 OR 2 B2 fire extinguishers.
For boats measuring 65 ft, you have to check the federal regulations regarding fire extinguishers.
Fire extinguisher classification
There are different types of fire extinguishers available, each serving a different purpose. They can be classified into five categories. They are as follows:
“A” stands for ‘Ash’. A Class A fire extinguisher is used for ordinary flammable items like fabric, wood, etc. Water or a mix of water and detergent can be used to control Class A fire, which is the most common type of outbreak on boats. Such fires result from sparks near combustible items.
“B” stands for “Barrell”. A Class B fire extinguisher contains dry chemicals or carbon dioxide and is used for fires caused by liquids like gasoline and petroleum, which spread quickly. This kind of fire cannot be controlled with water. So, the Class B extinguisher uses foam or powder to stop fires by flammable gases or liquids.
“C” stands for “Current”. This means that current sparks from electrical equipment cause class C fires. To stop such fires, fire extinguishers use carbon dioxide or chemicals. The nature of the fire changes once the source appliance is removed. An extinguisher appropriate for the material must be used after that.
“D” stands for “Dynamite”. Class D fire extinguishers are useful for controlling fires caused by burning metals. You should know that all types of metals are not flammable, and the majority of the Case D fires are caused by titanium or magnesium. These extinguishers use dry chemicals.
“K” stands for “Kitchen”. Fire extinguishers in the Class K category are used for fire outbreaks caused by cooking oil or fat. This kind of fire spreads quite easily and can even lead to fire explosions. Technically, this is similar to Class B, and the extinguishers function on the same principle.
Understanding the minimum requirement for your boat
You have already understood that there are different types of fire extinguishers and the requirements for your boat, according to the length and features of the vessels.
If your boat measures 26 ft or above, you are legally required to have at least 2 fire extinguishers.
However, there is a small catch here. If the engine compartment of your boat is equipped with a fire extinguisher system that has been approved by the U.S. Coast Guard, the number of extinguishers on the boat may be reduced.
Either way, you must make sure that the tool is approved by the U.S.C.G.
As you also know, there are different fire categories, and the fire extinguisher used to control each outbreak is different. However, to be on the safe side, you can install a tri-class fire extinguisher.
It contains mono ammonium phosphate, a dry, non-toxic chemical. It is designed to stop the chemical reactions caused by fires. It can also inhibit class A, B, and C fires.
Storage and maintaining the fire extinguisher
We have already discussed that keeping a fire extinguisher close to a possible source of fire is essential.
Keeping it at an angle is also important to prevent the chemicals inside from settling at the bottom. If it is a powder extinguisher, it should not be kept horizontally.
Otherwise, the powder inside can start to form clumps, and the extinguisher won’t work properly.
You also need to follow a few basic fire extinguisher maintenance steps like –
- Checking the tool on a monthly basis to make sure it’s working and can be used at any time;
- Examining the seals and hoses to ensure that the fire extinguisher is not damaged;
- Weighing the fire extinguisher to confirm that it weighs the same as mentioned on the label.
In addition, you should take certain precautions to prevent fire breakouts in your home. Make sure to place your fire extinguisher near the storage unit for flammable liquids.
Also, clean all oil spills, debris, and trash to prevent the catalysis of a fire. You need to be particularly careful in danger zones and high-traffic areas on the boat.
Using your fire extinguisher
If there’s a fire on the boat, remember the P.A.S.S. formula, i.e. –
- P – Pulling the extinguisher pin
- A – Aiming the nozzle at the fire from a safe distance
- S – Squeezing the lever to emit the content of the extinguisher
- S – Sweeping the nozzle from side to side
This will help you use the fire extinguisher to cover the fire and eventually stop it.
Final thoughts on where to store fire extinguisher on your boat
Having a fire extinguisher on the boat based on the speculation of a fire can be a little scary.
But remember that having the right extinguisher on the boat is essential for your boat’s safety.
Fire accidents are not uncommon on boats, but you can prevent one by keeping the fire extinguisher in an accessible spot on the boat.