where should fire extinguishers be stored on a boat?

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Fire safety is paramount on any boat, as being out on the water presents unique challenges and risks. One crucial aspect of boat safety is the proper placement and storage of fire extinguishers. In this article, we will explore the importance of fire extinguishers on boats and discuss the recommended locations for storing them to ensure quick access and optimal safety.


Importance of Fire Extinguishers on Boats

When you’re out on the open water, the risk of a fire breaking out on your boat is a real concern. Unlike on land, where help is usually just a phone call away, being far from shore can significantly impact response times in case of an emergency. Having readily accessible fire extinguishers on your boat can mean the difference between a minor incident and a catastrophic event.

Legal Requirements and Fire Extinguisher Placement

Before we delve into the recommended storage locations, it’s essential to understand the legal requirements for fire extinguishers on boats. Regulations may vary depending on your location, boat size, and type, but it’s crucial to adhere to the guidelines set by relevant authorities. Familiarize yourself with the specific requirements for your boat and ensure compliance to avoid penalties and, more importantly, to prioritize the safety of all on board.  Generally speaking, here are some guidelines:


  • Small Boats (Less than 26 feet): For small boats, it is generally recommended to have at least one BC-rated fire extinguisher onboard.  Place it near the helm or cockpit area for quick accessibility during emergencies.
  • Medium-Sized Boats (26 to 40 feet): Medium-sized boats should have multiple fire extinguishers strategically placed throughout the vessel. In addition to the helm or cockpit area, consider storing them near the galley, in the engine compartment, and in cabins or sleeping areas. Have a combination of BC and ABC-rated fire extinguishers suitable for various types of fires.
  • Large Boats (Over 40 feet): Larger boats require multiple fire extinguishers placed in various locations. Distribute them near each helm station, in the galley, in the engine room, and in multiple cabins and sleeping areas. Ensure easy access to extinguishers from all parts of the vessel. Have a combination of BC and ABC-rated fire extinguishers suitable for various types of fires.

Accessibility and Visibility Factors

When determining where to store your fire extinguisher on a boat, two critical factors come into play: accessibility and visibility. In an emergency situation, you need to be able to reach the extinguisher quickly. Additionally, it should be easily visible to everyone on board, ensuring that it can be readily identified and accessed by anyone in need.


Mounting Options for Fire Extinguishers

When it comes to mounting fire extinguishers on boats, there are several options to consider. These include wall-mounted brackets, dedicated extinguisher cabinets, or using specialized fire extinguisher mounts designed for marine environments. Whichever option you choose, make sure it meets the required standards and provides secure storage to prevent accidental dislodging or damage during rough water conditions.


Proper Fire Extinguisher Maintenance

Fire extinguishers are only effective if they are well-maintained. Here are some essential tips for proper fire extinguisher maintenance:


Inspection and Maintenance Schedule

Regularly inspect your fire extinguishers according to the manufacturer’s guidelines and local regulations. Ensure that pressure gauges, safety seals, and other components are in good working order. Additionally, keep track of maintenance schedules and seek professional servicing when necessary.


Maintenance Tips

  • Store fire extinguishers in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.
  • Regularly check for any signs of damage, corrosion, or leakage.
  • Make sure the extinguisher is easily accessible and not obstructed by any objects.
  • Familiarize yourself with the operating instructions and ensure everyone on board knows how to use the extinguisher correctly.

 A Few Recommended Brands Specifically for Boats:


Trusted by boaters worldwide, Kidde offers a range of reliable fire extinguishers specifically designed for marine use. With their compact and durable models, Kidde ensures your boat is equipped with the highest level of fire safety.


When it comes to marine fire safety, Amerex is a name you can rely on. Their high-quality extinguishers meet all necessary safety standards and provide effective protection against flammable liquids and electrical fires on your boat.

First Alert: 

Safeguard your boating adventures with First Alert marine fire extinguishers. As a well-established brand in fire safety, First Alert offers reliable and Coast Guard-approved extinguishers to give you peace of mind while out on the water.

Additional Safety Measures

While fire extinguishers are a vital safety component, they should be part of a comprehensive fire safety plan on your boat. Consider additional safety measures such as installing smoke detectors, having a fire blanket on board, and having clear emergency procedures in place. Regularly educate everyone on board about fire safety practices and conduct fire drills to ensure preparedness.


The proper storage and placement of fire extinguishers on a boat are crucial for ensuring the safety of everyone on board. By adhering to legal requirements, considering accessibility and visibility factors, and implementing recommended storage locations, you can significantly reduce the risks associated with fires on your boat. Remember to maintain your fire extinguishers properly and prioritize fire safety as an essential aspect of your boating experience.


  1. How many fire extinguishers do I need on my boat?
  • The number of fire extinguishers required depends on your boat’s size and type. Refer to local regulations or consult with boating authorities to determine the specific requirements for your vessel.
  1. Can I store the fire extinguisher in a locker or enclosed compartment?
  • It’s generally not recommended to store fire extinguishers in lockers or enclosed compartments unless they are specifically designed for this purpose. Fire extinguishers should be easily accessible and not obstructed by any objects.
  1. How often should I inspect my fire extinguishers?
  • Regular inspections should be conducted according to the manufacturer’s guidelines and local regulations. Typically, inspections are recommended at least once a year, but more frequent checks are advisable, especially if your boat is frequently used.
  1. What type of fire extinguisher should I have on my boat?
  • The type of fire extinguisher required depends on the type of fire hazards present on your boat. Commonly, a combination of Class A, B, and C fire extinguishers is recommended to cover a wide range of potential fires.
  1. Are there any special considerations for saltwater environments?
  • Yes, saltwater environments can accelerate corrosion. Ensure you choose fire extinguishers specifically designed for marine use, and regularly inspect them for any signs of saltwater damage or corrosion.

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