Fire Extinguisher Requirements and Types

Check fire extinguishers annually to assure that they are properly charged. All fire extinguishers must be readily accessible. They also must be in condition for immediate and effective use at all times.

Safety Requirements

Fire extinguishers are not required for outboard motorboats that are:

  • less than 26 feet in length,
  • of open construction, AND
  • not carrying passengers for hire are not required to carry fire extinguishers.

However, a fire extinguisher is required if one or more of the following conditions exist:

  • Closed compartment under thwarts and seats wherein portable fuel tanks may be stored
  • Double bottoms not sealed to the hull or which are not completely filled with flotation material
  • Closed living spaces
  • Closed storage compartments in which combustible or flammable materials are stored
  • Permanently installed fuel tanks
  • Inboard engines

US Coast Guard-approved Types

U.S. Coast Guard approved extinguishers are identified by the following marking on the label: "Marine Type USCG approved, Size .... Type ::::, 162.028/.../"

Fire Extinguishers Approved for Motorboats

Fire extinguishers approved for motorboats are hand-portable and of either B or BC type classification. B type can extinguish for gasoline, oil, and grease fires. BC type can extinguish electrical fires in addition to gasoline, oil, and grease fires.

(min. gallons)
Dry Carbon-Dioxide
(min. pounds)
Dry Chemical
(min. pounds)
(min. pounds)
B-1 1¼ gal. 4 lbs 2 lbs 2½ lbs
B-2 2½ gal. 15 lbs 10 lbs 10 lbs

Number and Type of Fire Extinguishers Required

The number of approved fire extinguishers required depends upon:

  • the class of the motorboat, and
  • the presence of a fixed (built-in) fire extinguishing system of an approved type.

Information about approved fixed fire extinguishing systems can be found in §25.30-15 of the Water Safety Act PDF.

When the engine compartment of a motorboat is equipped with a fixed extinguishing system, one less B-1 extinguisher is required.

Vessel Length Without Fixed Extinguishing System in Machinery Space With Fixed Extinguishing System in Machinery Space
less than 26 feet One B-1 None
26 feet to less than 40 feet Two B-1 OR One B-2 One B-1
40 feet to 65 feet Three B-1 OR One B-1 and One B-2 Two B-1 OR One B-2