New Fire Extinguisher Regulations

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Beginning April 20, new U.S. Coast Guard regulations change extinguisher expiration dates and the minimum classification of fire extinguishers carried aboard newer boats. Learn more about the new U.S. Coast Guard regulation.

The new regulation puts a 12-year expiration on all disposable (non-rechargeable) fire extinguishers. A boater should look for the manufacture date on the bottom of the bottle or near the URL label. It may appear as two or four digits (e.g., 08 or 2008). The 12-year expiration date puts the U.S. Coast Guard regulations in line with the National Fire Protection Association’s recommendations.

For 2018 model boats or newer:

  • Must carry “5-B”, “10-B”, and “20-B” classified extinguishers. The number on the new labels refers to the size (in square feet) of a potential fire the device is suitable to extinguish.
  • Please note, for boats 26-65 feet the requirements vary.

For 2017 model boats or older:

  • May carry older “B-I” or “B-II” disposable extinguishers until their 12-year expiration date, and then they must be replaced with newer class extinguishers.
  • Boats built prior to 1952 have special rules.

Rechargeable and fixed-mount fire extinguisher regulations have not changed; they require regular servicing by a technician.

Boats must also carry a minimum number of fire extinguishers based on the length of the vessel. The Safe Boating Campaign recommends boaters to go above the minimum requirements for fire extinguishers on board. Learn more about the new U.S. Coast Guard regulation and the minimum number of fire extinguishers required.

Make sure your boat meets the new fire extinguisher requirements by getting a vessel safety check with your local U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and United States Power Squadrons.