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

Fire Extinguishers

NEW REGULATION/S - Fire extinguishers must be replaced 12 years after manufacture.

The new fire extinguisher regulations going into effect on April 20, 2022 may seem a little confusing, but if you know the model year of your boat, they boil down to two simple points.

If you own a boat that is model year 2018 or newer, you may need to replace your fire extinguishers.

  • In addition to meeting the carriage requirements for the correct number of extinguishers for the size of your boat, they must be labeled as 5-B or 20-B, extinguishers labeled with B-I or B-II only are no longer acceptable.
  • Extinguishers must not be more than 12 years old according to the date of manufacture stamped on the bottle
  • You only have to get new ones if they are no longer serviceable. Good serviceable conditions are as follows:
    - If the extinguisher has a pressure gauge reading or indicator it must be in the operable range or position
    - The lock pin is firmly in place
    - The discharge nozzle is clean and free of obstruction
    - The extinguisher does not show visible signs of significant corrosion or damage.
If you own a boat that is 2017 model year or older (between 1953-2017):

  • You may keep your extinguishers labeled B-I and B-II, but
  • Extinguishers must not be more than 12 years old according to the date of manufacture stamped on the bottle

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