Boat Fire Extinguisher Storage
Most boats are required to have at least one fire extinguisher, and larger boats may be required to have several. How and where your boat fire extinguisher is mounted is a matter of both safety and legality. » Read More
Fire Extinguisher Storage
Boat Outfitters fire extinguisher mounting bracket holds your marine fire extinguisher wherever you choose to mount it. It’s designed to secure your standard 3.5-pound marine fire extinguisher. The bracket is made out of King Starboard and marine-grade hardware; it is built to withstand the hard conditions of the marine environment.
Starboard is a marine-grade polymer with impressive high-impact strength. It will not rot, degrade or delaminate. In comparison to the light, plastic brackets that come with most boat fire extinguishers, this bracket is much stronger and easier to use. It is built to handle rough seas and hard use.
In tight spaces, the cheaper plastic harness can be a struggle to unlatch. Unlike the supplied plastic harness, Boat Outfitters' mounting bracket features a simple-to-use pull-pin with a lanyard. When you need to use your fire extinguisher, every second counts, and you don’t want to be fumbling with a difficult-to-use mounting bracket.
Coast Guard Fire Extinguisher Rules
Although not a requirement, the Coast Guard strongly recommends mounting your fire extinguisher. Leaving your fire extinguisher rolling around loosely in a compartment could cause problems with meeting the Coast Guard requirement of being “readily accessible.”
Legality aside, being in a disorganized compartment can lead to issues if you actually need it in an emergency. Having your extinguisher subject to moist conditions without airflow could lead to the deterioration of it, which is also hazardous. Keeping your extinguisher above deck keeps it in easy reach and allows you to check on it at a glance.
Even on boats that require only one extinguisher, mounting more is a good idea. On boats like walkarounds or small expresses, it’s a good idea to keep one mounted near the motors, one in the cabin, and potentially one more near the helm. The cost of fire extinguishers is minuscule compared to the cost of not having them when you need them.
Mounting a Boat Fire Extinguisher Bracket
Mounting your fire extinguisher mounting bracket is a simple task. It requires a footprint of 9.5 inches at its longest, 4 inches wide, and 5.5 inches deep. The mount can accommodate both vertical and horizontal orientations. By United States Coast Guard standards, your fire extinguisher must be “readily accessible.” Be sure to consider this when choosing your mounting location and position.
Another thing to keep in mind is what you have to hold screws, or if it’s possible to through-bolt your bracket. Even though a fire extinguisher might only weigh 3.5 pounds, the vibrations of boat use might not allow thin fiberglass to hold your mounting screws. Regardless of whether you use screws or through bolts, you need to be sure to seal any holes you make in fiberglass. Unsealed holes can lead to costly repairs down the road.
Boat Fire Extinguisher Requirements by Size
As mentioned before, fire extinguishers are required by the Coast Guard on most motorized vessels. Even on vessels that don’t require one, it’s a good idea to have a fire extinguisher.
Boats less than 26 feet in length, using portable fuel tanks without any stowage areas, do not require portable fire extinguishers, or extinguishers of any sort.
Any boat with a stowage area that could trap fuel vapors, or where portable fuel tanks could be stored, will require at least one boat fire extinguisher. The same goes for any boat with permanently installed fuel tanks, or living quarters. Boats up to 26 feet that meet any of the above-described criteria require one fire extinguisher.
Above that, boats between 26 and 40 feet require 2 portable fire extinguishers. For boats, 40-65 feet long, 3 portable fire extinguishers are required. This is only relative to portable fire extinguishers and doesn’t consider any other marine fire suppression systems. Be sure to look up any laws and regulations about boating before you embark on your next trip.
Types of Boat Fire Extinguishers
The kind of fire extinguisher you buy is also important. You should be sure to buy fire extinguishers labeled for marine use. Due to the corrosive nature of the marine environment, household fire extinguishers may degrade more rapidly than a marine one.
The Class Rating of fire extinguishers is also important on boats. Class A-rated fire extinguishers are for Class A fires, which involve ordinary combustibles like paper, wood, or cloth. Class B-rated fire extinguishers are what is required by the Coast Guard; they’re for fires involving combustible liquids like gasoline. Class C fires involve electrical equipment, and are extinguished with carbon dioxide or dry chemicals.
The size rating of fire extinguishers also relates to marine use. They are size rated from 1 through 5. Size 1 is the smallest, and size 5 is the largest. The Coast Guard requires size one or two in terms of portable fire extinguishers.
Additional Boat Fire Extinguisher Requirements
Besides being readily accessible, the Coast Guard has other requirements for the fire extinguishers on your boat. They must be of an approved type, unexpired, and be maintained in good and serviceable working order.
Good and working order consists of four things:
- First, the pressure gauge must indicate that the extinguisher is fully charged.
- Second, the lock pin must be firmly in place. This pin stops you from accidentally setting off your extinguisher.
- Third, the discharge nozzle must be clean and free of obstructions.
- Finally, the extinguisher must not show signs of significant corrosion or damage.
These rules are simple to follow but could impact where you mount your extinguisher bracket. Keeping the extinguisher clean and free of corrosion could rule out some floor-mounted options.
Fire safety on boats is nothing to be taken lightly. In 2020, the Recreational Boating Statistics Report indicated that there were 47 incidents involving fire. Of those, 46 led to injuries, and 1 led to a loss of life. Having working equipment up to Coast Guard standards could save lives and property loss. Boating is great fun, and small precautions can keep the fun safe for all.
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