Hi there boating lovers! Coming to this place is a proof that you are concerned about your safety. As you should be. When you are outdoors on the waters boating, fishing or enjoying other recreational activities, safety must always come first.
From necessary first aid equipment to suitable clothing, everything must be considered when you are going on water. One of these necessities is having a fire extinguisher on your boat.
A fire extinguisher is a really important safety gear that can not only save your equipment and your boat, but can also be lifesaving in many instances. Having a fire extinguisher on board is so important it is stated by U.S coast guard rules and regulations to keep one in your boat at all times. We, at Exposed Outdoors, always consider taking the safety precautions before going on every boat ride or fishing escapade.
In this article, you will read all the information about the fire extinguishers on a boat. You will learn the types of most common fire extinguisher you can use, and how to use them on a boat. You will also learn the best place to put a fire extinguisher on a boat. So let us get started!
Types Of Fire Extinguishers:
People often get confused as to which class of fire extinguisher should be onboard a vessel? But to know the answer to that, first you need to know the classes or types of extinguishers present in the market.
Fire extinguishers are named based on different letters. These letters define the composition of the gas inside the extinguisher and the type of fires they can be used for. Different types of gases are used to extinguish different types of fire hazards; fire caused by electricity or gas leakage etc.
The ratings of the fire extinguishers are inscribed on the side of the tank of the extinguishers and range from A, B, C, D and K. these different letters are important to remember as they define which type of fire can be put-out with the help of a certain fire extinguisher.
Having a thorough and good knowledge of the fire extinguisher and the letter which are scribbled on its tank is very important. When you are in an emergency situation, you need to be able to tell whether an extinguisher will put-out the fire that is caused or whether it will contribute in increasing it. Yes! It can also happen.
When you don’t know which chemicals are in the extinguisher, you can accidently increase the fire hazard by spraying something which the fire naturally consumes. In order to avoid any problems, let’s understand the basics of fire extinguishers first.
When learning about fire security, the most common question is “what type of fire can be put out safely with water?” A Class A fire is the most common type of fire which can start at a boat. This letter “A” represents a fire which is ignited on ordinary flammable materials, such as wood, or fabric. It can start by wood catching sparks from a nearby flame or the sails burning due to any accident.
A Class A fire is easy to be snubbed if it is controlled in time. This type of fire can be easily smothered by using water. You can also pour water and foam (detergent) mixture on Class A fire to snuff out a Class A fire.
This category includes fires that are ignited on flammable liquids such as oil, petroleum or paints. Explosive gasses are also included in this category. The B Category fires are extremely dangerous and have high chance of spreading. If you have barrels or canisters of explosive material on your boat in large quantity, you need to be very careful to avoid any fire hazard, because the fire started on these materials are hard to control.
If you face nay such incident on your boat, never use water to control the fire started on flammable liquid or gasses. Using water will only cause the fire to spread.
You must be wondering what is in a fire extinguisher of Class B that is different from a Class A fire extinguisher. The class B extinguishers have dry chemicals that don’t splatter or create steam which can spread the fire. The dry chemicals in these extinguishers are in the form of powder or foam.
When you are trying to stop a fire caused in flammable liquid, any class B extinguisher can be used, but when the fire is started on combustible gases, be careful to use only the extinguisher with dry chemicals.
These fires are caused by electricity or current. These fires are highly complicated and demand strong impulse to deal with them. As the class C fires are started by current, you might be at risk to get a shock if you come in contact with any exposed electrical equipment.
Any exposed wires, if come in contact with water on boat, can result in hazard. You need to be safe before going outdoor for boating and fishing. Regular maintenance of your boat and other equipment must always be insured.
To snug the Class C fire, don’t ever use water. It will only spread the danger. The class C extinguishers use carbon dioxide or dry chemicals which are appropriate to stop this fire.
If the fire has spread from the electrical equipment to other things, you will need to deal with the electrical fire first, and the other class of fire later. Once the electrical fire is dealt with and is stopped. Remove the electrical equipment which caused the fire safely from the area. Then use any other extinguisher to stop the fire which might have spread to wood or fabrics in the process.
A Class D fire is caused by metals burning. Burning or melting of metal is really hard and it requires a very high temperature to burn equipment made of metal. But there are also some metals such as magnesium and titanium which are at high risk of burning easily.
Metal burning is rarely seen at common places such as houses or kitchens, so you don’t need to worry about one on your boat. Class D extinguishers also use dry substance to eradicate the fire.
Class K fire can be the most dangerous fire. Even the smallest negligence can cause a Class K fire. These fires are started with cooking fats, vegetable oils, grease or animal fats. The Class K fires have a high tendency to spread as kitchens have electricity and gas too, which all can cause a massive explosion.
When working in the kitchen while being outdoors on a boat, be careful that the stove is on low and that cooking oils, or grease is not spilled on the stove. If an emergency situation arises, you can use a Class B extinguisher as well.
Fire Extinguisher Storage On A Boat:
If you are wondering, “do I need a fire extinguisher on my boat?” You must know that having a fire extinguisher on board can help you deal with emergency fire situation and prevent any loss of life and property.
A very important question regarding boat safety is “where should fire extinguishers be stored on a boat?” or. “Where is the best place to store a fire extinguisher on a boat?” The answer can vary according to the type and size of boat. But a simple and universal answer to this question is “where it can be seen and accessed easily.”
The U.S Coast Guard implies it necessary to have a fire extinguisher aboard all boats to deal with emergency situations. There are also some guidelines as to which fire extinguishers to use and where the extinguisher needs to be saved. The U.S Coast Guard requires that a fire extinguisher is portal and either of Type B-I or B-II classification. The extinguisher needs to be placed where it can be seen easily in any emergency situation and accessed easily too. The extinguisher should be placed in readily accessible locations such as; in the galley, near the staring station, or the engine room.
While these are the conditions of where to place a fire extinguisher so it can be used in case of an emergency even when you are not there, there are also some places where you should never put a fire extinguisher. The engine and the stove are the places where you should avoid placing a fire extinguisher, because if a fire starts and spread from there, you might not be able to reach the extinguisher and stop the fire.
Placing a fire extinguisher in a spot where it can be easily reached is of utmost importance. Imagine you are not on board and some of your family or friends are borrowing the boat. If you haven’t communicated to them about the location of the fire extinguisher and they face an emergency situation, they need to be able to see it in visible spot to act quickly.
Another important question regarding the fire extinguishers requirements on a boat is, “how many fire extinguishers you should have on the boat?” or, “what size fire extinguisher for boat is required?”
The answer to this also depends largely on the size and type of the boat. While it is necessary to have at least one fire extinguisher on board, if your boat is large in size, keeping more than one fire extinguisher will allow you to reach and use it where the fire has started. If you have a large sized boat and the extinguisher is placed far from the place of fire, the process of running to get the extinguisher can delay the process and the fire can spread.
You also need to consider what type of boat you have. A simple recreational boat might not have much chances of a fire starting, but if it is a boat which transports goods, and you happen to transport flammable material, there are high chances of danger. In this case, you will need to place fire extinguishers near the place of potential danger to quickly reach it and snub the fire.
You also need to consider how many types of fire can are a potential threat in your boat. If there is a stove, or if you have flammable material. Whether you have wooden stuff in your boat or if there is a chance of fire leakage. The number of extinguishers you have will depend on this as well.
A fire extinguisher should be attached to the boat fire extinguisher mount that came with the apparatus. Mount the barrel in an upright position. It makes the extinguisher easy to be spotted, inspected and used. It is better to place the fire extinguisher in an open area so that it can be accessed easily.
How To Use A Fire Extinguisher:
Using a fire extinguisher is not a very difficult task, and if you have basic knowledge, you can do it easily. There are some basic guidelines which you need to be aware of, for an emergency situation. These important things include knowing where the extinguisher is, and which one to use according to the type of fire.
A simple rules of using a fire extinguisher can be remembered easily. P.A.S.S is the word which needs to be memorized so that in case of a panic or in a situation of hassle during a fire outbreak, you can do what needs to be done.
- First, you need to pull the pin on the extinguisher.
- Second, you have to direct the nozzle or hose toward the fire. Aim from a safe distance towards the burning equipment.
- Third, you need to squeeze the lever so that the extinguishing material is ejected from the barrel through the hose.
- Next you will sweep the hose in all directions of fire from right to left and up and down. Spray the extinguishing chemicals on the fire until it is totally snubbed out.
So these are the four steps of using a fire extinguisher; pull, aim, squeeze and sweep.
Boating is a fun activity and is considered a great recreational sport. There are many competitions held for boating and fishing and it is loved by people around the world. But like every other adventure, boating also includes dangers and potential hazards. People who love to do boating need to have basic knowledge of safety measures so they can be prepared for any situation which they may face on water, such as; passing a fishing boat safely and dealing with fire hazards. Having basic knowledge and training doesn’t only fulfill the regulations of U.S Coast Guard, but also ensure that you remain safe in case of any emergency.