Next in line after PFDs, fire extinguishers are a very important safety item. Although not all motorboats are required to carry a fire extinguisher, it is highly recommended that you do. There are numerous types and sizes of extinguishers but each one has to be U. S. Coast Guard approved.
Fire Extinguishers are classified by letters and numbers according to the class and size fire they can put out. The letter on the extinguisher (A, B, C, or D) indicates the class of fire. The number is a measure of the capacity of the extinguisher - the larger the number, the greater the capacity of extinguishing material to put out a fire.
Some boat fires involve burning wood and paper (Class A), but these fires can be put out with water. Do not use water on gasoline, oil, or electrical fires. Water causes gasoline and oil fires to spread and electrical current is conducted through the water.
Make sure to inspect your fire extinguishers monthly to make sure they are properly stored, charged and undamaged.
Once you use a fire extinguisher, you should either have it recharged, if it is rechargeable, or replaced if it is a disposable type. In any event, always make sure that your extinguisher label indicates that it is a U.S. Coast Guard approved marine type device.