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PA Boating Handbook
Fire Extinguishers
Fire extinguisherFire extinguishers are classified by letters and numbers. The letter indicates the type of fire the unit is designed to extinguish. For example, a type B extinguisher is meant to put out flammable liquids, and type C is for electrical fires. The number stands for the amount of extinguishing agent in the unit. For example, a B-I extinguisher has less agent than a B-II.

Motorboats 26 feet or more in length are required to carry Coast Guard-approved hand portable fire extinguishers. Motorboats less than 26 feet in length, powered by an outboard motor and not carrying passengers for hire are not required to carry fire extinguishers unless they have one or more of the following conditions:

  • Closed compartments under seats where portable fuel tanks may be stored.
  • Double bottoms not sealed to the hull or not completely filled with flotation material. Note: Open boats such as jonboats where an after-market solid wood or metal floor is installed and is not completely sealed to the hull are not required to carry a fire extinguisher.
  • Closed living spaces.
  • Closed storage compartments in which flammable materials are stowed.
  • Permanently installed fuel tanks.
Class A   combustible solids, wood, paper, cloth
Class B   flammable liquids and gases
Class C   energized electrical equipment
Class D   combustible metals
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