a man puts out a fire with an extinguisher
a man puts out a fire with an extinguisher

Fire Extinguishers

We know we need them on board, but how many do we need and how do they work?

The Coast Guard requires boats to have at least one B-1 marine fire extinguisher on board.

Depending on the size of your boat you may need more than one. Boats less than 26' have to have at least one B-1 fire extinguisher on board. Boats 26'-40' need to have at least two B-1 fire extinguishers on board. If the boat has a USCG approved fire extinguisher system installed for protection of the engine compartment, then the required number may be reduced.

Please refer to the table below for the number of extinguishers required for your boat. Our recommendation is to have a tri-class (1A:10BC) fire extinguisher on board your boat. We also suggest you have more than the Coast Guard requires.

Which Fire Extinguisher is Right for Me?

A tri-class dry chemical extinguisher will meet most boaters' needs. If you have concerns about damage to your electronics or your engine compartment lacks a fixed well.

As fire extinguishers are required on most boats, you most likely have one aboard. But chances are, you've never needed to use one, and might not know the proper technique for using one.

Take the time to read the directions on your fire extinguisher - you might be surprised about what it can and can't do. For more information on fire extinguishers, check out the Foundation Findings that we did in 2009 testing different extinguishers on different fires as well as testing volunteers on how quickly they could figure out how to use one.

Vessel Length and Fire Extinguisher Type Table

Vessel Length No Fixed System With approved Fixed Systems
Less than 26' 1 B-1 0
26' to less than 40' 2 B-1 or 1 B-II 1 B-1
40' to 65' 3 B-1 or 1 B-II and 1 B-1 2 B-1 or 1 B-II