Fire Safety – So what’s the difference between one portable fire extinguisher and another? The answer might surprise you.

crw1216_hos4_monthly002_copyWhen I (Steve D’Antonio) recently asked a boatbuilder what type of portable fire extinguisher he installed aboard his boats, the response took me aback. “Does it really matter?” he asked. “Aren’t they all pretty much the same?” Given the alphabet soup by which fires and extinguishers are defined and designated (see “U.S. Fire Classifications”), his answer could be forgiven. However, there are significant differences between such designations. The U.S. Coast Guard requirements for fire extinguishers are, in my opinion, woefully inadequate and should be considered strictly an absolute minimum. A 65-foot vessel is compliant with just one portable B-II and one fixed fire extinguisher (again, I don’t recommend following this guideline). My preference is for a portable ABC unit to be installed in every cabin, along with one clean-agent extinguisher mounted amidships, typically close to the engine and electrical panel. And no fire extinguisher should be more than three steps away. Read the story here 11:22

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