Different types of fires can occur on a motori boat, and each type of fire requires a different type of extinguisher. A motor boat should have a type BC fire extinguisher on board capable of fighting combustible liquid and electrical fires. The letters on a fire extinguisher determine what types of fires it is designed to fight. Fires are classified as follows:
Fights a solid combustible (wood, textiles, paper, etc.).
Fights combustible liquids (flammable liquid, paint, grease, and oil)
Fights an electrical fire (motor, fuse box and cables).
The number before the letters on the extinguisher tells you how big a fire it will put out compared to other extinguishers. For example, a 10BC device will put out a larger fire than a 5BC device.
The type of devices on board and the length of the boat will determine the number and type of fire extinguishers required on your pleasure craft.
Fire extinguishers should always be stored in a convenient and easily accessible place on your boat.
The fire extinguisher you choose must be certified and labelled by the Coast Guard (for marine use), Underwriters Laboratories of Canada (ULC) or Underwriters Laboratories, Inc.(UL). You may no longer refill your fire extinguishers yourself, but have them refilled by a competent manufacturer's representative.
Fuels, such as gasoline and propane, can be very dangerous if the proper precautions are not taken. The fumes from these fuels are heavier than air and tend to collect in the cabin, bilge and other low lying areas of the boat. It is of utmost importance that you keep these areas clean and free of trash because those are the areas of the boat where oxygen tends to accumulate. The missing ingredient to then start a fire is heat. Just turning the ignition switch could spark a fire!
Some basic safety rules that you should follow on your boat: