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Old 09-25-2012, 05:32 PM   #1
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Marine Fire Equipment

Has anyone in the Fort Lauderdale area used the company named Marine Fire Equipment run by Norman Benoit, to inspect your engine room fire extinguisher equipment? I would like to get a reference on him since I need my fire equipment inspected.

Another question: What is the qualification that an inspector needs in order to make his inspection acceptable to the Coast Guard and insurance companies, as being qualified.

Thanks,
Karl
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Old 09-25-2012, 06:34 PM   #2
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Has anyone in the Fort Lauderdale area used the company named Marine Fire Equipment run by Norman Benoit, to inspect your engine room fire extinguisher equipment? I would like to get a reference on him since I need my fire equipment inspected.

Another question: What is the qualification that an inspector needs in order to make his inspection acceptable to the Coast Guard and insurance companies, as being qualified.

Thanks,
Karl
Karl: I'm not sure you need someone to inspect your engine room fire extinguisher equipment on the boat. We have a Fireboy system with engine shutdown. I take the engine room bottle into a fire extinguisher shop with the 5 other fire extinguishers on board when they need to be weighed, serviced and/or inspected. The CG, marine surveyors or insurance company (s) has never question the tags. We had a local fire department one year inspect our dry chemical fire extinguishers (after a donation) that we documented. The surveyor and insurance company never questioned it.
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Old 09-25-2012, 08:52 PM   #3
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Like Larry we use a local fire extinguisher company to check the boat's fire extinguishers and renew the tags. I don't know if the company has any sort of documentation or certificate that makes them "approved" in the USCG's eyes. If so, they've never mentioned it.

As long as the extinguisher itself (or rather its mount which is apparently what actually makes an extinguisher "approved" or not) is USCG approved it doesn't seem to matter who did the inspection.
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Old 09-25-2012, 09:41 PM   #4
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I'll ask the vendor we use at work his next time through and see if he's heard anything about a "Marine Certification" for fire extinguisher inspection but suspect this may be one of those internet rumors.

I assume any extinguisher company can service and certify your equipment.
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Old 09-25-2012, 09:45 PM   #5
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For our assistance towing vessel extinguishers...even though not required as they aren't inspected vessels...all the fire extinguisher people do is look, check the gauge, tap the powder loose and tag it. I think I'll just keep doing my own thank you....
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Old 09-25-2012, 09:48 PM   #6
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It's very vague what is an acceptable inspection. Extinguisher has to be in it's bracket and properly mounted, the gauge has to indicate it is properly charged, proper type and size, UL or USCG approved.

Professorial inspection and tag aren't required. I inspect my own at least once each year and log each in my maintenance / ships log book.

I hand the log book to the CG or surveyor when they come aboard. They will usually thumb through the book and note the appropriate documents (registration, operators license, USCG sanitation system certification and then I will point out the maintenance logs on safety equipment, flares, life jackets, extinguishers. They will usually want to examine one or two of each item. They don't want to waste their time waiting for you to find your documentation, so the more in order your paperwork, the less time they will spend on the inspection.

I noticed on some of the new extinguishers they have added an expiration date on the bottom. I suppose at some point the CG or whoever will decide they are no good if expired, like they do on the flares and shells.

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Old 09-25-2012, 10:01 PM   #7
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For our assistance towing vessel extinguishers...even though not required as they aren't inspected vessels...all the fire extinguisher people do is look, check the gauge, tap the powder loose and tag it. I think I'll just keep doing my own thank you....
They do all that with ours on the tailgate of their truck at our facility. I also noticed they weigh them on a digital scale to verify the powder content is within spec too. All in all it looks fairly straightforward. We are required to have ours certified annually. It takes the vendor approximately 2 weeks to do our entire facility.

Is DIY certification approved/possible?
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Old 09-25-2012, 10:17 PM   #8
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Is DIY certification approved/possible?
I think it has more to do with the whim of the person doing the inspecting of your boat. We've read--- as in the earlier post--- that for our non-commercial boat we can inspect our own extinguishers as long as we keep a record.

But in the case of both our USCG boardings and the pre-purchase and subsequent insurance surveys everyone said the extinguishers had to be checked/inspected and tagged by a "commercial" fire extinguisher company and that self-inspection wouldn't cut it.

So it may be like the "rules" the customs people follow at border crossings--- what they ask you and how they react is mostly up to the individual agent.
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Old 09-25-2012, 11:45 PM   #9
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Thanks Marin. I was confusing worlds for a moment. Un-inspected vessels and inspected public facilities are two entirely different things

It's been a long day
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Old 09-26-2012, 12:53 AM   #10
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For recreational boats, See below:

If you're interested in seeing the complete Coast Guard fire extinguisher requirements, it is available on the USCG Auxiliary web page at:

http://cgaux.org/rbs/fire-extinguishers-info.php

Fire Extinguisher Maintenance


Inspect Extinguishers monthly to make sure that:
  • Seals and tamper indicators are not broken or missing
  • Pressure gauges or other indicators, if so equipped, read in the operable range (I.E. "Full") as described on the extinguisher.
  • There is no obvious physical damage, rust, corrosion, leakage, or clogged nozzles,
  • If the minimum weight is stated on the extinguisher label, weight extinguisher annually to check.
Fire extinguishers that do not satisfy the above requirements or that have been partially emptied must be replaced or taken to a qualified fire extinguisher servicing company for recharge.
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Old 09-26-2012, 06:27 AM   #11
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Is DIY certification approved/possible?
http://www.uscg.mil/hq/cg5/cg5214/do...ance%20FAQ.pdf


If you really want to do it yourself ...

National Association of Fire Equipment Distributors (NAFED) | Welcome
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Old 09-26-2012, 06:48 AM   #12
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rec vessels do no have to have a cert tag...overzealous inspectors would be incorrect.

http://vdept.cgaux.org/JobAidFiles/VSC_Manual.pdf

there's some good info on all types of extinguishers. including how to check for caked powder in dry chems...but no requirement for commercial inspection every year.
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Old 09-26-2012, 09:32 AM   #13
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Many store bought fire extinguishers can't be recharged. When they pass their expiration date you just toss them. The fire safety guy comes around on a schedule and inspects the ones in my office and tags them. The local FD does their annual walk through to look at that and the emergency lights, etc.
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Old 09-26-2012, 09:47 AM   #14
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Many store bought fire extinguishers can't be recharged. When they pass their expiration date you just toss them. ...
You're right. This from RickB's USCG link:



"There are a number of approved small extinguishers that are not intended to be recharged (typically B-I rated extinguishers). The fire extinguisher label will clearly state that the extinguisher is non-refillable or non-rechargeable and is to be removed from service at a maximum interval of 12 years from the date of manufacture."
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Old 09-26-2012, 10:46 AM   #15
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Thanks for all the replies and information. This is really interesting to me because I've thought, for all my boating years, that the engine room fire extinguisher system had to be inspected by some qualified and licensed person, and I've paid some huge fees for getting it done.

Years ago, I was advised that my fire department would do it if I brought it to them, but when I called my local fire station, they said they had stopped years ago and suggested I find a qualified inspector to do it.

BTY, I'm not talking about the handhelds, those I have even tagged myself because checking the dial is easy, but it's the Halon in the engine compartment I want done. The only way I know this can be checked, mine is an old Halon system without any gauge, is by weighing it. I called a local marine extinguisher inspector whom I've used before and his price to come to my boat starts at $275. Marine Fire Equipment's charge is $145.

I asked the owner of Marine Fire Equipment what his qualifications are and his answer is doing it for 20 years for big insurance companies, boat owner's and surveyors, plus he has a marine surveyor's license.

To know that just anyone can do this is really a shock to me. If the system fails during a fire and I have no proof of professional inspection, I wonder how my insurance company would view this.

Again, thanks for the feedback. Karl
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Old 09-26-2012, 11:20 AM   #16
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... plus he has a marine surveyor's license.
If he told you that, find another surveyor and or another place to take your stuff ... with regard to boats, there is no such thing as a "licensed surveyor."

Many small boat surveyors are frauds anyway but if they call themselves "licensed" it is no longer just a joke.
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Old 09-26-2012, 11:33 AM   #17
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There are two main Marine surveyor accreditations.
SAMS or Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors.
NAMS Or National Accredited Marine Surveyors.

SAMS is pretty easy to become a member of.
You send in a couple of surveys and a bunch of money and you get there go.
They require a few up grades over a period of years and more money.

NAMS is pretty much the same a little more private club. With them you have to attend a few sponsored classes.

The rest is just a business license, a phone number and the ability to do the accepted paperwork for banks and insurance

Word of mouth will find a good surveyor.

The rest are just paper pushers. IMHO

Sd
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Old 09-26-2012, 11:51 AM   #18
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... The only way I know this can be checked, mine is an old Halon system without any gauge, is by weighing it. I called a local marine extinguisher inspector whom I've used before and his price to come to my boat starts at $275. Marine Fire Equipment's charge is $145...
When you have had the inspection done in the past, do they test the entire system, ie: back to the engine shut off or just remove it and weigh it? If your old Halon looks like this, it's easy to remove. There are 2 wires at the nozzle and the 2 mounting brackets. You can see the tag from the last inspection. How much would Marine Fire Equipment charge if you took the cylinder to them?
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Old 09-26-2012, 02:51 PM   #19
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I probably took "license" with using the word "license". In my quest to find someone qualified to do this kind of inspection, I'm looking for someone who is licensed, whether that credential exists or not, in that field. Sorry for confusing the discussion.

I'm on friendly terms with my marine insurance broker, so I called him to ask his opinion on getting the fire system inspected by a qualified person. The bottom line of our conversation was that if a fire did take place in the engine compartment and the extinguisher did not activate or activate properly, the insurance company would want to see documentation that proved that I took responsible action in getting the fire system inspected annually by a qualified person (we did not go into what those qualifications are). He gave me the name of a local marine fire system inspector whom I called. I asked him for a price to do the inspection on my boat and it was $200.

I've decided to have the Fire Marine Equipment guy from Fort Lauderdale do the inspection on my boat for $145. Maybe I'm still paying too much for that service, but I've heard too many war stories lately of insurance companies looking for whatever reason they can to deny covering a claim.

Again, thanks for all your feedback; it's been a learning experience. Karl
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Old 09-26-2012, 03:15 PM   #20
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To know that just anyone can do this is really a shock to me.
Not "just anyone" can inspect the extinguisher and issue a certificate. Please read the links in post #11.

The linked content explains which extinguishers need to be inspected, how, by whom, and how often. One link also describes the process by which an inspector may obtain certification to perform required inspections.

If you are paying for a service that is required by law or by your insurance underwriter you have the right to view the provider's certification. Don't be afraid to ask to see it.

Read you insurance policy with particular regard to exclusions. Your insurance agent and/or your surveyor do not write insurance policies and they do not have authority to dictate procedures or techniques that are not backed up by law or contract. If a surveyor tells you something is "required" then he must be able to provide documentation to that effect.

Your insurance agent is a salesman, he does not underwrite your coverage and he does not write regulations.
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