Fire Extinguishers

Rating example: 5BC

  1. BC indicates cappable of extinguishing fires of burning liquid gas or oil plus electrical fires.
    • Class A - combustible solid (i.e. wood, paper)
    • Class B - combustible liquid (i.e. gas, oil)
    • Class C - electrical
  2. 5 before the letters rates the relative fire-fighting effectiveness. i.e. 10BC will put out a larger fire than 5BC. [You should always consider exceeding the minimum requirements.]

If you have an automatic system on your boat, you must still carry the required number of portable extinguishers. Note the dry chemical type tend to "cake", so shake them periodically. They should be tested and recharged periodically (review the dated label). CO2 type should be weighed annually and recharged if they contain less than 90% capacity.

Fire dangers onboard

Read a story about a real-life galley fire.

Gasoline, propane, and butane pose a high risk in a boat. They are all heavier than air and flow into the lower parts of the boat, where they collect and are hard to remove. A spark or flame can cause a dangerous explosion with a very small amount of these fuels.

Learn how to fuel gasoline safely.

Install a gas detector for the fuels you use and test it regularly. It may save your life.

Equivalent Fire Extinguishers

      Foam     Carbon      Dry       Dry
            Dioxide Gas  Chemical  Chemical/Multi-purpose
 Class  L       kg         kg        kg      lb
  AI   4.5      --         --       0.90     2
  AII  9        --         --       2.25     5
  BI   4.5      2.25      0.90      0.90     2
  BII  9        4.5       2.25      2.25     5