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Fire Extinguishers

Each fire extinguisher is classified by the letter and Roman numeral, according to its size and the type of fire it is meant to extinguish. The following is a listing of the fire types and their corresponding letter:

A. Fires of ordinary combustible materials.
Fire extinguisher manufacturer date stamp
B. Gasoline, oil and grease fires.
C. Electrical fires.
 
Extinguishers approved for motorboats are hand-portable, of either B-1 or B-2 classification. Newer fire extinguisher ratings (since 2020) are 
5-B, 10-B and 20-B. The number in this new rating refers to the size in square feet of the potential fire the device is suitable to extinguish and not the exact weight of the dry chemical inside the bottle.

New USCG fire extinguisher regulations go into effect April 20, 2022, for disposable fire extinguishers which mandates a 12-year expiration date from the date of manufacture. Boaters can find the manufacture date stamped into the bottom of the bottle or near the UL label. This may be two or four digits — if it is two, as in 08, that means 2008. Additionally, while the new regulation does not change the type (U.S. Coast Guard-rated) or quantity or requirement for USCG-approved fire extinguishers aboard, it does specify the minimum Underwriter Laboratory (UL) classification of extinguishers to be carried aboard certain vessels. (Also, see BoatUS News Release)
Coast Guard fire extinguisher requirements for boat length and extinguisher type -effective April 20, 2022B-1 portable fire extinguisher

An approved extinguisher bears the label of a testing laboratory and will include either U.S. Coast Guard approval number or specify “Marine type USCG." Boaters should be familiar with how to use their extinguisher. Check the charge and be sure the powder is loose and not packed. Check fire extinguishers regularly.
Every motorboat, except outboard motorboats less than 26 feet in length of open construction, shall carry on board, fully charged and in serviceable condition the following hand portable marine approved fire extinguishers.
Some additional points: "PASS" acronym to explain how to operate a fire extinguisher:The "PASS" process of putting out a fire with a fire extinguisher

1. Keep a shipboard fire downwind. Turn the boat so that the flames and smoke blow away from the boat rather than over it.
2. Do not test a fire extinguisher. This breaks the seals and causes leakage. ALL extinguishers should be serviced at least every two years. See label for additional servicing information.
3. Store extinguishers where a fire is NOT likely to break out.
An extinguisher mounted over the galley stove or inside the engine compartment may be impossible to reach when needed.
4. An extinguisher stored horizontally is less susceptible to packing or caking that is caused by vibration and settling.
5. Point the extinguisher nozzle at the source of the fire (beneath the flames) and sweep back and forth. Keep in mind that a type 5-B or B-I extinguisher empties in less than 10 seconds!
6. Save some of the charge for a re-flash or, better yet, carry a spare extinguisher.