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Buyer's Guide

How to Choose the Best Fire Extinguishers for Boats

Many boaters swear by the use of an open flame fire extinguisher on board. It is an easy way to contain small confined fires that have taken hold in the hull of a ship. However, if you use a cylinder type extinguisher and don't keep it tightly covered where it will remain out of reach of children or pets you are opening yourself up to serious dangers. Also, using a cylinder type extinguisher outside can result in dangerous situations. Here's how to choose the best fire extinguisher for boat use.

Oxygen is essential for life support and is carried with every cell of your body. Oxygen is released from the fire extinguisher when it is struck by the heat of a flame and quickly carried away by the water. As you know, oxygenated water is highly flammable and can quickly fill the hull of a boat even if no fire has initially started.

An improperly installed extinguisher can waste oxygen and can create a dangerous situation on board a boat. In addition, a poorly maintained extinguisher can be no more effective than a cylinder of standard oxygen. If an improperly installed extinguisher is used, not only will it waste oxygen, but it will also release the fire-retarding chemicals usually found in most fire extinguishers.

Oxygen is necessary for breathing and is carried with every cell of your body. When oxygen is deprived, particularly inside a closed area, it can cause severe brain damage and death. This is a much greater risk when using a fire extinguisher on a boat as compared to using one for your car or home.

How to Choose the Best Fire Extinguisher for Boat Safety First, it is important to choose a safe product from a reputable company. Many companies create flammable fire extinguishers with improper chemical combinations. Oxygen is particularly hazardous when it is vaporized in the open air. Secondly, the extinguisher should be easy to use. Lastly, choose a fire extinguisher that has a good safety rating, which means that the product exceeds the maximum level of fire resistance available.

How to Choose the Best Fire Extinguisher for Boat Care Once you have chosen a highly rated and approved product, read the instructions carefully before each use. The first few times you use a fire extinguisher, follow all of the manufacturer's specific instructions. After each use, remove the fire extinguisher from its packaging and ensure that it is clean and dry. Follow all of the proper safety precautions when handling this type of fire equipment. If you are unable to properly extinguish the fire, seek immediate help from a trained professional. Follow these basic fire extinguisher tips for basic care and maintenance:

How to Choose the Best Fire Extinguisher for Boat Care If your extinguisher should catch on fire, do not panic. Covering the area with plenty of water will extinguish the fire quickly. Remove the burning materials from the immediate area and cover up the fire with absorbent materials such as paper towels or newspaper. Do not attempt to put out the flames yourself, as the flammable liquid can cause injury.

How to Choose the Best Fire Extinguishers For Boats As the owner of a boat, you already know that prevention is better than treatment. Preventive maintenance usually involves keeping the fire extinguishers in good working order. Boats tend to be at the mercy of the water, so keeping the water near the boats fuel supply and electrical systems at all times is crucial. Boats that take on water because of rough waters or heavy winds should also be covered. While covering a vessel can prevent damage and loss, it may be an unnecessary risk if the water in the surrounding area is calm.

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