- Fire extinguishers should be stored in easily accessible locations.
- Store fire extinguishers in areas with low risk of damage or interference.
- Mount the fire extinguishers securely to prevent them from moving during rough waters.
- They should be kept away from direct sunlight or heat sources.
A fire on board can quickly turn disastrous. That's why storing your fire extinguisher in the right place is crucial.
The best places to store a fire extinguisher on a boat are the cabin, hull, bilge, and kitchen because they are prone to fires. In addition, you can mount the fire extinguisher in an upright manner and access it more easily.
After conducting a comprehensive analysis, getting expert advice, and consolidating insights from reliable sources, I’ve gathered enough knowledge to ensure you get accurate and pertinent tips for fire extinguisher storage on your boat. As such, I would like to share this information to help you make informed decisions about maintaining a safe environment for yourself and your passengers when boating.
Best Place to Store Fire Extinguisher on a Boat
As a boat owner, ensuring safety on your vessel is a top priority. One critical safety measure is finding the best place to store a fire extinguisher on a boat.
The best places to store a fire extinguisher on a boat are in easily accessible locations, high-traffic areas, and areas where the fire is likely to occur. Let’s go into detail.
The kitchen is the most common area for fires to occur on boats due to the presence of flammable materials such as cooking oils, propane gas, and electrical appliances.
A fire in the kitchen can quickly spread to other areas of the boat, causing significant damage and endangering the lives of passengers and crew.
As such, a fire extinguisher should be readily available in the kitchen area and must be appropriately placed.
It’s essential to store a boat fire extinguisher in the cabin as it is the vessel's primary living and sleeping quarters. A fire in the cabin can quickly become life-threatening as the area is usually small, and the occupants may be asleep, making it harder for them to escape.
Additionally, a fire extinguisher in the cabin allows for a quick response to contain and put out any fires before they get out of control.
You should, therefore, consider placing the extinguisher in an easily accessible location, preferably near the cabin’s main entrance. Again, ensure that all passengers know its location and how to use it.
Storing a fire extinguisher in the hull is crucial, especially for boats with engine rooms. The engine room houses the boat's power source, and any ignition source, such as an electrical short circuit, fuel leakage, or overheated equipment, can cause a fire.
Keep in mind that a fire extinguisher in the hull should be mounted on the wall or placed in a bracket for easy access and must be appropriate for fires caused by fuel, oil, and other flammable liquids.
Placing a fire extinguisher in the bilge is essential for boats operating in saltwater or other harsh environments. Bilge fires can start due to electrical issues, overheated pumps, and other equipment failures.
These fires can be tricky to extinguish as they are usually in confined spaces, making it difficult to access the flames. A fire extinguisher in the bilge can help prevent the fire from spreading to other areas of the boat and provide immediate action to put out the fire.
Why Do Boats Require Fire Extinguishers?
Like any other work or living space, boats face potential fire hazards. Flammable materials, electrical systems, and fuel in engines make the marine environment prone to unexpected fires.
With that in mind, let's look at some reasons why boats require marine fire extinguishers.
Boats Carry Flammable Materials
Boats generally carry flammable substances such as gasoline, oil, and propane, which can easily catch fire and spread quickly. Fire extinguishers are necessary to control and extinguish the fire immediately after it occurs.
Electrical Equipment and Wiring
Boats are often equipped with various electrical equipment, such as radios, navigation systems, and lighting. Electrical malfunctions can cause fires, which can be quickly contained by a fire extinguisher since it contains fire suppressants such as carbon dioxide.
Risk of Explosions
In addition to fire hazards, boats also risk explosions due to the presence of fuel tanks and other combustible materials. Fire extinguishers can help to prevent or control any explosions that may occur.
Limited Access to Emergency Services
When on the water, access to emergency services may be limited, making it essential to have a fire extinguisher onboard to deal with potential emergencies.
Notably, many boating safety regulations require that boats be equipped with at least one fire extinguisher. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in huge fines and penalties.
Regulations for Fire Extinguishers Location on Boats
Understanding the regulations for fire extinguisher location on boats is crucial for boat owners and operators. Proper storage ensures accessibility and quick response to boating accidents like potential fires, enhancing safety for everyone on board.
These recommendations come from various sources, including the US Coast Guard and boating safety organizations. For example, the USCG dictates that fire extinguishers must be stored on a wall bracket.
New regulations governing the types and age of fire extinguishers required on recreational boats came into effect on April 20, 2022. These regulations apply to boats under 65 feet long and mandate that fire extinguishers be replaced 12 years after manufacture.
Regarding the presence of older fire extinguishers, the law allows for their storage on board as long as the boat also has a newer extinguisher that meets all requirements. This ensures compliance with regulations while providing additional options for firefighting in case of an emergency.
Boats with an engine must have a fire extinguisher. Also, if the boat has enclosed compartments where portable fuel tanks may be kept, or a double bottom that is not sealed to the hull must have a fire extinguisher.
In addition, the new regulation requires boats built from 2018 onwards to carry fire extinguishers labeled 5-B, 10-B, or 20-B. The older B-I or B-II designations are now considered insufficient.
Getting the Right Fire Extinguisher
You should choose the appropriate fire extinguisher that can significantly prevent and control fires.
There are essential factors to consider when choosing boat fire extinguishers. They include the type of fire extinguisher, size, and approval by the US Coast Guard.
Here's a comparison of these factors and their corresponding importance when selecting a fire extinguisher:
Before making your final decision, it's always recommended to consult your boat's owner manual or consult with industry professionals to ensure the extinguisher you choose the appropriate fire extinguisher that complies with the safety regulations and standards.
How to Store and Maintain Your Fire Extinguisher
Here are some storage and maintenance tips for your fire extinguishers.
Firstly, store your fire extinguisher in a cool, dry place that is easily accessible. Usually, high temperatures cause the extinguisher’s components to deteriorate, causing leaks.
Also, check the pressure gauge on the extinguisher regularly to ensure it’s within the recommended range.
You should have the fire extinguisher mounted securely to prevent it from moving during rough waters. This is because it can be dangerous if it hits someone or something during such movements.
Additionally, keep the boat fire extinguisher away from direct sunlight, heat sources, and other areas where it may be exposed to extreme temperatures. This is to prevent the components from expanding and rupturing due to increased pressure.
You should also inspect the extinguishers regularly for any signs of damage or wear and tear. You should consider replacing fire extinguishers immediately if they’re damaged or have expired.
How to Use Your Fire Extinguishers
Learning to use a fire extinguisher properly is crucial when aboard a boat. This is because emergencies can occur without warning. When operating a fire extinguisher, start by pulling the pin and holding the extinguisher in a position where the nozzle is facing away from you.
Next, aim the nozzle at the base of the fire, keeping it low to the ground. Then, slowly and evenly press the lever to release the extinguishing agent and sweep the nozzle from side to side to cover the entire area of the fire.
It’s essential to practice using your portable fire extinguisher before an emergency situation arises, as every second counts during a fire. Familiarize yourself with the specific extinguisher on your boat, as different types may require varied techniques.
About THE AUTHOR
I have a deep love of houseboating and the life-changing experiences houseboating has brought into my life. I’ve been going to Lake Powell on our family’s houseboat for over 30 years and have made many great memories, first as a child and now as a parent. My family has a passion for helping others have similar fun, safe experiences on their houseboat.Read More About Brian Samson