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Boat Fire Extinguisher: Types and Number Required

March 21, 2022

Fire is probably not the first hazard you think of when considering boating safety. Although boats are usually surrounded by water, that does not make them immune to flame. There are various devices and materials aboard vessels that can cause fires, so proper safety precautions must be taken to ensure that any fires that occur can be dealt with promptly.

Portable marine fire extinguishers are a vital type of safety equipment that is required on most boats. In this article, find out about the types of fire extinguishers available and the number required on different sizes of boats.

Types of fire extinguishers for boats

Not every type of boat fire extinguisher works for every kind of fire. There are three main classifications of fire extinguishers, each of which corresponds to a different type of fire.

  • Class A: Effective against solid combustibles such as wood, textiles, paper, etc.
  • Class B: Effective against liquid combustibles such as gas, grease, oil, etc.
  • Class C: Effective against electrical fires

A number placed before the letter(s) signifies the size of fire the extinguisher can put out effectively. For example, a 10BC extinguisher will be able to put out a larger fire than a 5BC extinguisher.

What determines the number of fire extinguishers required on a pleasure craft?

Boating safety equipment requirements for pleasure craft in Canada are set forth in the Small Vessel Regulations. The type and number of fire extinguishers required are determined by the types of devices on board and the length of the vessel in question.

Pleasure craft up to 6 m

  • 1 5BC fire extinguisher if equipped with an inboard engine, a fixed fuel tank of any size, or a fuel-burning cooking, heating or refrigerating appliance

Pleasure craft over 6 m and up to 9 m

  • 1 5BC fire extinguisher if the vessel is power-driven
  • 1 5BC fire extinguisher if equipped with a fuel-burning cooking, heating or refrigerating appliance

Pleasure craft over 9 m and up to 12 m

  • 1 10BC fire extinguisher if the vessel is power-driven
  • 1 10BC fire extinguisher if equipped with a fuel-burning cooking, heating or refrigerating appliance

Pleasure craft over 12 m and up to 24 m

  • A 10BC fire extinguisher at the following locations:
    • At each access to a space equipped with a fuel-burning cooking, heating or refrigerating appliance
    • At the entrance to any accommodation space
    • At the entrance to the machinery space

Pleasure craft over 24 m

  • A 10BC fire extinguisher at the following locations:
    • At each access to a space equipped with a fuel-burning cooking, heating or refrigerating appliance
    • At the entrance to any accommodation space
    • At the entrance to the machinery space
  • Pleasure craft over 24 m are also required to have 1 power driven fire pump located outside the engine space, fitted with a fire hose and nozzle that can direct a jet of water to any part of the vessel.

Maintenance

Boat maintenance needs to be done regularly in order to keep your pleasure craft shipshape, and that includes fire extinguishers. Fire extinguishers should be inspected periodically to ensure that they’re in good working order, and should be turned upside down and shaken vigorously once a month to prevent the chemical agent from clumping.

Learn more about boating with Drive a Boat Canada

Fire extinguisher regulations are just one element of boating safety that boaters need to be aware of before heading out on the water. Learn everything you need to know about boating safety with Drive a Boat Canada’s comprehensive boating safety course. Once you’ve completed our course, you’ll be able to take the boating exam online to obtain your official boating license from Transport Canada! You can also check out our blog for more great tips on boating safety.