Table of Contents

It's the Law

Fire Extinguishers

All vessels on federally controlled waters (see Federally Controlled Waters) are required to have a Type B fire extinguisher(s) on board if one or more of the following conditions exist:

  • Inboard engine
  • Double bottoms not sealed to the hull or not filled completely with flotation materials
  • Closed living spaces
  • Closed compartments where flammable or combustible materials may be stored
  • Permanently installed fuel tanks

Vessels on Iowa state waters are required to have a Type B fire extinguisher(s) on board if the vessel is propelled by an outboard motor of greater than 10 horsepower.

Approved types of fire extinguishers are identified by the following marking on the label—“Marine Type USCG Approved”—followed by the type and size symbols and the approval number.

Extinguishers must be placed in an accessible area—not near the engine or in a compartment. Check all extinguishers regularly to make sure they are charged.

Fire Extinguisher Requirements

Classification Foam Carbon Dioxide Dry Chemical
type & size minimum gallons minimum pounds minimum pounds
B-I 4 2
B-II 15 10
Length of Vessel Without Fixed System With Fixed System*
Less than 26 ft. one B-I None
26 ft. to less than 40  ft. two B-I or one B-II one B-I
40 ft. to less than 65 ft. three B-I or one B-II and one B-I two B-I or one B-II

* refers to a permanently installed fire extinguisher system

Fire Extinguisher Charge Indicators

Check the charge level of your fire extinguishers regularly. Replace them immediately if they are not fully charged.

Fire Extinguisher Indicator
On this style of fire extinguisher, the needle indicator should be in the "full" range.
Fire Extinguisher Indicator
To check this style of extinguisher, depress the green button. If it is fully charged, the green button should pop back out immediately.
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