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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.
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 (as of 2020) are 
5-B and 20-B.

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. 

Some additional points: "PASS" acronym to explain how to operate 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 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.

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