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Old 07-14-2016, 02:58 PM   #1
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Smile Fire Extinguisher question for 38'

I recently bought a used 38' cabin cruiser with about 5 larger than normal fire extinguishers on board with pins in & gauges in green area. The surveyor wrote up about them needing to be signed off/ tested every year according to some NFPA or another agency code. I read many articles on West Marine & it says my boat length needs a minimum of two B1 or one B11.
So Boat U.S. insurance is telling me I have to do what surveyor says about extinguishers . West Marine says their B1s are warranted for six years & doesn't tell you that you have to get them signed off every year.
Is the surveyor over doing it & superceeding the Coast Guard? Thank you.
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Old 07-14-2016, 03:40 PM   #2
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If you were in Canada, the rule would always include the yearly sign-off by a certified extinguisher shop. At our YC we have them come out every year on safety day to take care of this.

I would be very surprised if the regs are less strict in the US.

The insurer is rarely going to demand full compliance with all of the regs, but when you are just surveyed, for insurance, the insurer is ALWAYS going to require full compliance with the surveyor's recommendations. They only require a survey every 5 years (or so), but on those occasions want to see that you are fully compliant.
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Old 07-14-2016, 03:53 PM   #3
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Greetings,
Mr. RB. There is a minimum requirement for safety equipment on vessels depending on size as I'm sure you're aware and if you demonstrate to the insurance company that you meet these minimums, you should get coverage. Whether that means getting some (enough to meet the legal requirements) of the existing extinguishers re-certified or buy the minimum required, is up to you.

All that being said, in the event of fire, you can never have too many extinguishers IMO. I would bring them ALL up to code IF there is a good place to stow them all.
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Old 07-14-2016, 03:53 PM   #4
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One distinction you need to note, is that the requirement for a yearly sign-off on all of your extinguishers has nothing to do with them being on a boat. That is a requirement of, in your area, your NFPA.

Here in BC, it is a requirement of our provincial government, so if, for example, you were involved in an incident that brought the local cops aboard, they would be authorized to ticket you if you don't have tags on your fire extinguishers.

West Marine is not set up to know the local codes everywhere they have a store, but they, as a Marine store, need to stay current on what is required at sea. There, for your 38 ft boat, (if it were in Canada) you require:

"One 10BC extinguisher if power driven AND
one 10BC if fitted with fuel burning cooking,
heating or refrigeration appliance"

but naturally, you have to comply with all local laws as well.
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Old 07-14-2016, 04:34 PM   #5
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What I don't understand is if you have the USCG approved required marine type extinguishers, what's to sign off on it. Don't they come with a pull-pin & a gauge with the needle in the green zone when they're good?
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Old 07-14-2016, 05:25 PM   #6
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Turn them upside down and look on the bottom for a date. If older than 5 years (I think, not sure) the CG won't like it.
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Old 07-14-2016, 05:27 PM   #7
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Cant have too many fire extinguishers. I did a post last year or so on the fire that happened on my boat, maybe you can find it.
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Old 07-14-2016, 06:03 PM   #8
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Fire extinguishers have a test date for the pressure vessel (container) that is every 5 to 15 years for retest depending on the vessel. The annual tag is a requirement to make sure that the extinguisher is full and ready for use by a qualified inspector. They are supposed to check test date, pressure if a dry chemical, weight if CO2 or other liquid, safety pins, horn (nozzle), and general service condition. The price for this inspection varies widely. If you take them to a extinguisher service company the fee can be from a couple of dollars to over 10 per extinguisher.

These companies will also retest and recharge extinguishers. Generally the very small dry chemical ones can be replaced cheaper than retesting and recharging. As with flares, you need to keep the required minimum in compliance.

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Old 07-14-2016, 06:05 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gulf Comanche View Post
Turn them upside down and look on the bottom for a date. If older than 5 years (I think, not sure) the CG won't like it.
There are different NFPA / USCG reqm'ts for refillable vs non-refillable and that's probably at least part of the confusion.

A 38 ' vessel needs a Min of 2 B-I or 1 B-II extinguishers to qualify w/o a fixed system... or 1 B-I w/ a fixed system.

Attached is a USCG summary of the inspection reqm'ts

Non-refillables have a stated Max life of 12 yrs
Refillables have a monthly check by vessel owner and annual "maintenance" inspection by a trained individual.

USCG Aux / USPS Vessel Safety Examiners are required to check for extinguishers that are not damaged and gauges show they are charged...
we are encouraged to discuss the more stringent inspection reqm'ts w/ vessel owners but will pass vessels w/o the annual maintenance inspections.
A USCG boarding or insurance Co may require the more stringent inspection reqm't.

In my mind this is similar to flares - carry enough extinguishers to comply w/ reqm'ts but having more that may / may not be inspected can't hurt?

Has anyone had an extinguisher w/ a gauge in the green NOT function?
I've used OLD outdated extinguishers (provided by local fire dept) in extinguisher demo / training session - never had one that didn't function.
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Old 07-14-2016, 06:09 PM   #10
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Buy two new fire extinguishers and send a picture of the extinguishers and the receipt to the insurer. Problem solved for $40 or so. On my boat I inspect and weigh my extinguishers each year myself, fill out the tag and sign it.
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Old 07-14-2016, 06:29 PM   #11
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I have an account with a commercial fire extinguisher company. My 4 extinguishers cost around $10 bucks a year to be inspected and tagged. Seems a pretty small price for piece of mind from a professional service company.

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Old 07-14-2016, 07:41 PM   #12
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It appears the op got his answer, so I will chime regardimg dry chemical systems.

I dumped the dry chemical systems that came with the boat.these things make a major mess when discharged and The fine powder gets everywhere and is very difficult to clean up.

Although more expensive, I would recommend a clean agent fire extinguisher. These are the same types used in a computer room, and other occupancies where damage to the area is a factor.

For the engine room I installed a fire boy clean agent, automatic suppression with a fusible link. . The sizeof the extinguisher was calculated for the volume of the engine room. And yes it is designed for a class c oil fire.
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Old 07-14-2016, 09:21 PM   #13
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Sounds like a plan. The ones I was going to buy are throw away after use. So do I need to replace the non-refillable each year if not inspected?
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Old 07-14-2016, 09:28 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bacchus View Post
There are different NFPA / USCG reqm'ts for refillable vs non-refillable and that's probably at least part of the confusion.

A 38 ' vessel needs a Min of 2 B-I or 1 B-II extinguishers to qualify w/o a fixed system... or 1 B-I w/ a fixed system.

Attached is a USCG summary of the inspection reqm'ts

Non-refillables have a stated Max life of 12 yrs
Refillables have a monthly check by vessel owner and annual "maintenance" inspection by a trained individual.

USCG Aux / USPS Vessel Safety Examiners are required to check for extinguishers that are not damaged and gauges show they are charged...
we are encouraged to discuss the more stringent inspection reqm'ts w/ vessel owners but will pass vessels w/o the annual maintenance inspections.
A USCG boarding or insurance Co may require the more stringent inspection reqm't.

In my mind this is similar to flares - carry enough extinguishers to comply w/ reqmom'ts but having more that may / may not be inspected can't hurt?

Has anyone had an extinguisher w/ a gauge in the green NOT function?
I've used OLD outdated extinguishers (provided by local fire dept) in extinguisher demo / training session - never had one that didn't function.
About the last paragraph of your pdf says a non-refillable, ie, BI is good up to 12 years if not damaged & gauge shows good pressure. Thanks so much.
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Old 07-14-2016, 09:33 PM   #15
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Where is the tag you're mentioning to fill out & sign?
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Old 07-14-2016, 09:34 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by O C Diver View Post
I have an account with a commercial fire extinguisher company. My 4 extinguishers cost around $10 bucks a year to be inspected and tagged. Seems a pretty small price for piece of mind from a professional service company.

Ted
I do this too. And there is no such thing as too many. I have three 5# dry chems (Galley, Master Stateroom, Companionway) and am planning on adding three more 2.5# (Flying bridge, Engine room, Forward stateroom) on or 42' motor yacht. And I take them all in every year to get checked! :-)

I will consider trying the clean agent if they are available there and not stupid expensive.
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Old 07-14-2016, 11:26 PM   #17
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The extinguisher company will provide a tag with the inspection date and signed by the guy doing the inspection. The checks are simple enough including for age yet need to be done.
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Old 07-16-2016, 11:44 AM   #18
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Fletcher500 - I did the same thing - added HFC 227 Fireboy to augment an old halon system + bottles. The thing that worried me was basing the calc on the size of the engine room as if it were a sealed space. My boat has 100% communication via the bilge from stem to stern. Not to mention less than watertight bulkheads.

I added a ton of margin to the ER system and added an additional, similarly sized unit to the stern stateroom.

I haven't and probably won't remove and weigh the Fireboy bottles every 6 months as recommended. I do check hardware condition and pressure indicator as pert of the pre-lightoff routine.

Bottles get the annual from the local fire extinguisher guy - $10 per bottle, I think.
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Old 07-16-2016, 05:09 PM   #19
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That was smart to account for the extra volume by adding more agent. Local application, non flooding systems take the same approach for shore side applications. Those fireboys are not cheap, but worth the piece of mind. Here is the one we mounted in the engine room.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sbu22 View Post
Fletcher500 - I did the same thing - added HFC 227 Fireboy to augment an old halon system + bottles. The thing that worried me was basing the calc on the size of the engine room as if it were a sealed space. My boat has 100% communication via the bilge from stem to stern. Not to mention less than watertight bulkheads.

I added a ton of margin to the ER system and added an additional, similarly sized unit to the stern stateroom.

I haven't and probably won't remove and weigh the Fireboy bottles every 6 months as recommended. I do check hardware condition and pressure indicator as pert of the pre-lightoff routine.

Bottles get the annual from the local fire extinguisher guy - $10 per bottle, I think.
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Old 07-16-2016, 05:22 PM   #20
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One point from reading your original post that has not been mentioned but I am almost certain was in the surveyor's assessment is that if an extinguisher is on the boat whether it is in addition to your "required" size and or type it still needs to be inspected and in proper condition or removed from the boat. There is no feeling like grabbing an extinguisher when there is a fire and it does not work. Similar to flares if you carry more than required ALL still have to be within the proper date.
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