Table of Contents

Download the PDF Version

It's the Law

Fire Extinguishers

All vessels on federally controlled waters are required to have a Type B USCG–approved fire extinguisher on board if one or more of the following conditions exist:

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

On Maine waters, an outboard vessel less than 26 feet in length that is not carrying passengers for hire is not required to have a fire extinguisher on board if the vessel is constructed in a way that does not permit the entrapment of explosive or flammable gases or vapors.

Even if a fire extinguisher is not required on your vessel, it is recommended that you always carry one on board in case of an emergency.

Use following chart to determine the size and quantity required for your vessel.

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

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 should be placed in an accessible area—not near the engine or in a compartment, but where they can be reached immediately. Be sure you know how to operate them, and inspect extinguishers regularly to ensure they are in working condition and fully charged.