While articles on marine safety equipment generally suggest that certain boats must have at least one fire extinguisher on board, few address the issue of where fire extinguishers should be stored on a boat. This may be because the answer varies depending on the type of boat. However, the shortest possible answer to the question of where to store fire extinguishers on a boat is: Where everyone on board can find and access them quickly.
Before we get into that, however, the US Coast Guard says in its published materials about fire extinguisher requirements for boats: “US Coast Guard approved fire extinguishers that are required for boats are handheld, have either a BI or a BI B-II classification and must be provided with a mounting bracket. Although not required, it is recommended that the fire extinguishers be installed in an easily accessible location. Think about where the fire extinguisher can be easily reached. For example, on or near the control station or in the galley or in the engine room, but not near any places where a fire is likely to break out. “
Here’s how to analyze this information. For example, you don’t want the fire extinguisher near the engine or over the stove in a galley because you may not be able to reach it if a fire starts and spreads quickly in those places. You want it in an open place, preferably a place where someone on your boat – especially a guest who may not be familiar with the boat – can easily see and access it. Always remember that as the operator, you may know where you have placed a fire extinguisher, but what if something happens to you and you are unable to tell a passenger about it? Because of this, it should be placed in a location where it will be obvious to anyone doing a quick scan, possibly in an emergency situation.
It is also best to have the fire extinguisher mounted as it is safe and that way is less likely to be damaged. The best way to mount the fire extinguisher on the bracket provided is the best scenario. These can be opened quickly for immediate use.
It is also better to be upright so that it can not only be discovered but also easily inspected. And it is preferable to have this bracket in an open area such as the galley in a large boat with a galley, in the cockpit of a center console boat near the operator and reasonably close to the gas tank.
Finally, when getting passengers on your boat before casting off, be sure to tell them where the various pieces of boat safety equipment, including the fire extinguisher, are located. You should also make sure your boat is registered before you depart.