a man puts out a fire with an extinguisher
a man puts out a fire with an extinguisher

Fire Extinguishers

NEW REGULATION/S - Fire extinguishers must be replaced 12 years after manufacture.

The new fire extinguisher regulations going into effect on April 20, 2022 may seem a little confusing, but if you know the model year of your boat, they boil down to two simple points.

Vessel Length and Fire Extinguisher Type Table

Goes into effect April 20, 2022

Vessel LengthNo Fixed SystemWith approved Fixed Systems
Less than 26'One 5-B or One 10-B0
26' to less than 40'Two 5-B or Two 10-B
or One 20-B
One 5-B or One-10-B
40' to 65'Three 5-B or Three 10-B or
One 20-B and One 5-B or One 10-B
Two 5-B or Two 10-B
or One 20-B

If you own a boat that is model year 2018 or newer, you may need to replace your fire extinguishers.
  • In addition to meeting the carriage requirements for the correct number of extinguishers for the size of your boat, they must be labeled as 5-B, 10-B or 20-B, extinguishers labeled with B-I or B-II only are no longer acceptable.
  • Extinguishers must not be more than 12 years old according to the date of manufacture stamped on the bottle
  • You only have to get new ones if they are no longer serviceable. Good serviceable conditions are as follows:
    - If the extinguisher has a pressure gauge reading or indicator it must be in the operable range or position
    - The lock pin is firmly in place
    - The discharge nozzle is clean and free of obstruction
    - The extinguisher does not show visible signs of significant corrosion or damage.
If you own a boat that is 2017 model year or older (between 1953-2017):

  • You may keep your extinguishers labeled B-I and B-II as long as they are still serviceable, but
  • If there is a date stamped on the bottle, extinguishers must not be more than 12 years old according to that date.

Still need guidance? Follow our flow chart.

These images depict what you should be seeing when you check your fire extinguisher: a date that is within the last 12 years and a classification of at least 5B. Remember, a fire extinguisher with more letters and numbers is OK too. The minimum size and classification is 5B.

Click the image below to enlarge.

Still have questions? Check out the frequently asked questions (FAQs) guide that gets to the bottom of some of your burning questions.

Fire-Extinguisher Rules - FAQ

Which Fire Extinguisher is Right for Me?

A tri-class dry chemical extinguisher will meet most boaters' needs. If you have concerns about damage to your electronics or your engine compartment lacks a fixed well.

As fire extinguishers are required on most boats, you most likely have one aboard. But chances are, you've never needed to use one, and might not know the proper technique for using one.

Take the time to read the directions on your fire extinguisher - you might be surprised about what it can and can't do. For more information on fire extinguishers, check out the Foundation Findings that we did in 2009 testing different extinguishers on different fires as well as testing volunteers on how quickly they could figure out how to use one.

Our recommendation is to have a tri-class (1A:10BC) fire extinguisher on board your boat. We also suggest you have more than the Coast Guard requires.