Coast Guard approved extinguishers required for boats are hand portable, either B-I or B-II classification and have a specific marine type-mounting bracket. Look for the part of the label that says "Marine Type USCG". It is recommended the extinguishers be mounted in a readily accessible position, away from the areas where a fire could likely start, such as the galley or the engine compartment.
Portable fire extinguishers are also a maintenance item. You may walk by that extinguisher in the passageway 50 times a day and feel like you're prepared for the worst every time you see that little bright red cylinder. But just because it's there and painted red doesn't mean it is going to work. All portable extinguishers should be checked monthly for indication of proper pressure as well as for signs of physical damage, corrosion, leakage or clogged nozzles. It is strongly recommended that a monthly log be kept noting the age and condition of each portable fire extinguisher. Yearly inspections should be made by a professional to determine the health of portable fire extinguishers. The worst time to discover you're extinguisher is a dud is right after you pull the pin and try to put out a fire.
Remember the P.A.S.S. Word
There are four basic steps to using a fire extinguisher.
Training and practice are the best ways to prepare for emergencies. Make certain you know the P.A.S.S. system and understand how to safely use a fire extinguisher before you ever need to.
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