Where Is The Best Place To Store A Fire Extinguisher On A Boat?

Where Is The Best Place To Store A Fire Extinguisher On A Boat? Boat owners are always conscious of accidents that may occur while on the sail, or at the dock, and a prevalent one is a fire outbreak. It is important to take adequate steps to protect not only the lives on the boat but the boat too (boats are expensive nowadays).

To fight fire accidents, it is important to prepare adequately with the provision of the required quantity and quality of fire extinguishers on the boat.

There are tips to follow to help prevent a fire incident, including proper places to keep the extinguisher on the boat, types and sizes best suited to a particular boat, as well as the general guidelines set by regulatory bodies for the water bodies and boats.

What Is A Requirement For A Fire Extinguisher On A Boat?

For a boat that is used to set sail on the water, it is a must to have at least a fire extinguisher on the boat. This is important especially for boats with the following features;

  • Boats with engines enclosed
  • Boats with living quarters within
  • The boat has a dedicated enclosed area for the storage of fuel tanks
  • A bottom that is not covered but enclosed with materials for floating

How Many Fire Extinguishers Should be on a Boat?

For this aspect, there are two factors to consider when estimating the number of extinguishers to be on a boat; the safety part and the legal aspect. For a simple boat, a Class B fire extinguisher or two should suffice.

However, for safety reasons, OSHA protocols dictate that any two fire extinguishers should be placed 50 feet from each other. This means that there is no limit to the number of extinguishers on a boat, as long as they cover 50 feet of each other.

Another aspect is the USGC guideline that stipulates only Class B fire extinguishers should be used on the boat because the fire it deals with is the most common.

Yet, other classes’ fire may occur on certain occasions and the extinguisher available may not be able to do the work, or even worsen the situation. So, consider having all the classes of fire extinguishers on board, for safety reasons.

Types of Fire Extinguishers Allowed on the Boat

There are different types of fire extinguishers available for all uses, but there are a selected few designed to quench a boat fire. All fire extinguishers are categorized on a lettered system, rated from A, B, C, D, and K. The letters are based on the kind of fires they can put out.

Fire outbreaks are classed based on the fuel that caused the fire, and how it was started. These two pieces of information are essential when putting out a fire, as it will be impossible to stop a fire started by flammable substances with water, for instance.

Class A Extinguishers: 

Class A fires or ‘Ash’ fires are the most common type of fires that can occur on a boat. It is started with materials including trash, wood, and fabric. On the boat, a fire can be started when a spark happens dangerously close to the listed materials.

For these types of fires, a good way to douse or quench it is to use normal water, or a smother foam of detergent and water to put it out. These can put them out in the early stages before the fire reaches uncontrollable stages.

Class B Extinguishers:

Class B fires or ‘Barrell’ are the next type of common fires to occur generally. They are started by liquids that are flammable including petroleum, oil, gasoline, and paint. For this class, they can become dangerous in a little time, and spread especially on boats with such liquids stored in large quantities.

A costly mistake people make when confronted with this kind of fire is to use the Class A approach-using water to quench it.

Using water on a fire powered by a flammable liquid increases the steam of the water, making it hot and loose. This will dispel droplets of water and the liquid as a mixture in different directions, increasing the fire as well the risk of burns on the body.

For this fire, extinguishers containing chemicals in dry forms, like halogen agents, ammonium phosphate, or carbon dioxide in pressurized forms, stored in the extinguisher canister are suitable for such fire.

Also note that fires resulting from flammable gasses only need dry chemical fire extinguishers, while the liquid-caused fires can be doused by the stated materials.

Class C Extinguishers:

Also known as Class ‘Current’ fires, these types of fire are caused majorly by faults associated with electrical faults. They can be controlled or quenched using extinguishers containing carbon dioxide, or other dry chemicals.

Note that because this class is caused by an electrical fault, it is possible to change class once started. So, if possible, remove the cause of the fire (the electrical item), and immediately apply the appropriate extinguisher for the material that is on fire.

Class D Extinguishers:

Class D fires or ‘Dynamite’ are started and sustained due to metals burning. The most common metals that burn include titanium and magnesium and are easily quenched using extinguishers that contain dry chemicals.

This class of fires rarely occurs on boats, as they are limited to places with lots of metals that burn; that’s laboratories, factories, and other installations that deal with lots of metals. The extinguishers associated are not required for a boat.

Class K Extinguishers:

The fires associated with this class are similar to that of Class B. Also termed Class ‘Kitchen’ fires, they’re limited to oils and liquids used in the kitchen. Cooking oil, grease, and animal fats are the cause of the fires.

As stated with class B, using water in a bid to quench the fire is a terrible idea, and can cause burns to the skin. All the extinguishers for use in Class B can be used in this class.

Based on the types of fires discussed and the accompanying extinguishers, extra care should be taken not to use one class extinguisher to quench another class fire.

In addition, certain fire extinguishers can cater for more than one class of fire, in cases where the cause of a fire is caused by two classes. Certain extinguishers have AB, ABC, or BC on their labels and can conveniently take care of both fires.

Should Fire Extinguishers Be Stored On A Boat?

For boats that have essential living amenities on board, a fire extinguisher is a must-have. Such amenities are the storage areas with either flammable liquids or materials, fuel storage area, kitchen, and the engine room. Such areas must have an extinguisher canister stored nearby, ready for use.

Where Is The Best Place To Store A Fire Extinguisher On A Boat?

Where Is The Best Place To Store A Fire Extinguisher On A Boat?

Where Should A Fire Extinguisher Be Stored On A Boat?

#1. Fire Extinguishers Should Be Stored in a Visible and Accessible Location

The first tip to take into consideration when choosing an appropriate storage location for the extinguisher is to be in a place that is accessible and can be viewed from all sides.

This is necessary for the passengers aboard the boat at the time of a fire. If in cases where there is no orientation for the passengers before the boat sets sail, then at least the canister should be in an open place.

It is important to place the extinguisher in a point that is accessible from different ends and does not need to cover much distance before it can be accessed.

#2. Fire Extinguishers Should be Located at a Safe Distance From High-Risk Items

As much as the extinguisher needs to be placed at an accessible place from the point of a possible fire outbreak, it should not be placed in a point of proximity with flammable materials.

This means that just because it should be accessible does not mean placing it side by side the engine or cooking area in the kitchen.

This is important to mitigate the risk of one putting himself in danger just to access the extinguisher, just because it was placed close to the risky region which is on fire.

If the extinguisher is stored in a conducive region, like the entrance point, it will be easy to retrieve it, and still be in time to put out the fire before it gets out of hand.

Proper Mounting and Storage of Fire Extinguishers

This is an important aspect of fire extinguishers that should be taken seriously. It is serious that there is a separate clause for the mounting and storage of extinguishers in the guidelines set by regulatory bodies.

  • Ensure to use the accompanying mounting brackets from the manufacturer to place the canister on the wall. This will protect the extinguisher from unnecessary harm, sustain its shelf life for long, and increase visibility in the case of a fire.
  • For extinguishers of a recent upgrade, they can be stored either in a horizontal or upright position. Do not store them in a position that the contents will settle at the bottom.

For larger extinguishers that cannot be placed on a wall, they should be on the ground.

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