fire extinguisher questions

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magna 6882

Guru
Joined
Apr 20, 2020
Messages
712
Location
USA
Vessel Name
Intrepid
Vessel Make
North Pacific/ NP-45 Hull 10
My boat has 4 fire extinguishers and a permanent suppression system. It is a 2020 boat so 4 years old. I had the suppression system checked last year and they tagged the system and the hand held extinguishers with a dated tag june 2024. I am confused with what the rules are. I read the coast guard is looking at the date on the bottom of the device but now that i have these tags i am being lead to believe its an annual thing . I did take the extinguishers in for new tags but am wondering if i don't want these tags on them at all.
If boarded is the coast guard going to look at the tag or the manufactured date.
 
The portable extinguishers have a 12 year life from the date of manufacture. The year of manufacture is either on the label or stamped on the bottom.
 
since the service tags are dated would there be some concern they are out of date or should i just remove the tags when i get them back.
 
On the portables the tag isn’t required. If memory serves me you are supposed to inspect them monthly or so. But not sure who actually does that…
 

In a nutshell, if any disposable (nonrechargeable) fire extinguisher has a date of manufacture stamped on the bottle and it is older than 12 years, the extinguisher is now considered "expired," must be removed from service, and replaced. Additionally, while the new regulation doesn’t change the type (U.S. Coast Guard-rated), quantity, or requirement for fire extinguishers aboard, it does specify the minimum Underwriters Laboratories (UL) classification of extinguishers to be carried aboard certain vessels, depending on the boat’s model year. This is the result of phasing out older B-I and B-II labels for newer 5-B, 10-B and 20-B classifications.

I believe the operable words are "disposable (nonrechargeable) fire extinguisher" versus "portable" as the actual type of extinguisher determines the inspection process and if they even qualify for carriage requirements.

There are overlapping and very confusing requirements for the rechargeable type extinguishers and I have since lost track of what the USCG actually looks for on boardings. Best to do a bit of research is carrying any.

The only reference I see for tags in the CFRs are for extinguishers with no pressure indicators..... see here....

 
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"in a nutshell, if any disposable (nonrechargeable) fire extinguisher has a date of manufacture stamped on the bottle and it is older than 12 years, the extinguisher is now considered "expired," must be removed from service, and replaced."


While we have the correct number of current portable fire extinguishers on board, we also keep our expired halon and foam extinguishers alongside. Does this mean that I must remove them from the boat?


In reality, I trust them more than the mess making, electronic killing dry chemical extinguishers.
 
My understanding is that both your insurance company and the Coast Guard require that the annual inspections are up to date, so you should leave those tags on. You should have them inspected annually and the tags replaced.
 
"in a nutshell, if any disposable (nonrechargeable) fire extinguisher has a date of manufacture stamped on the bottle and it is older than 12 years, the extinguisher is now considered "expired," must be removed from service, and replaced."


While we have the correct number of current portable fire extinguishers on board, we also keep our expired halon and foam extinguishers alongside. Does this mean that I must remove them from the boat?



In reality, I trust them more than the mess making, electronic killing dry chemical extinguishers.
No if you read on the entire CFR and read between the lines, like flares, "extra or additional" equipment does not have to be removed, but should be separate and clearly understood it is not your primary equipment.
 
My understanding is that both your insurance company and the Coast Guard require that the annual inspections are up to date, so you should leave those tags on. You should have them inspected annually and the tags replaced.
Not sure anywhere in my policies it discussed "FE inspections or tags"...and I haven't heard yet that all boarding officers look for tags on recreational boats because the vast majority use the disposables/non-refillables....now when it comes to fixed systems...they seem to be the quagmire of who wants what and to what detail.
 
On the non-refillable small fire extinguishers, I’d annually shake or hit them with a rubber mallet to loosen up the powder, check the pressure gauge, date and document it in the log.

We had an automatic halon engine room with automatic engine shut down. I’d remove the cylinder annually (when we were in the States), take it to a UPS Store and they’d weigh it for me. I’d check the auto shut down function when I had the cylinder out and log it. On the halon, I’d update the tag.

We were never questioned about them during a survey, we did get questioned on the small cylinders a few times by the USCG Auxiliary but it was a non issue.
IMG_9241.jpeg
 
My understanding is that both your insurance company and the Coast Guard require that the annual inspections are up to date, so you should leave those tags on. You should have them inspected annually and the tags replaced.
As a USPS/USCG Vessel Safety Examiner I don't look for or expect any tag on the non-refillable hand held FE's. Fixed systems do required periodic inspection (weighing). Most boaters don't bother with the inspections but will carry at least one extra non-refillable so the fixed system is not required to meet the min count of extinguishers.

Also shaking or tapping when upside down is no longer a recommended practice as described below

Here are some pertinent excerpts from the regs and VSC Manual

"5. ITEM #5 - FIRE EXTINGUISHERS(46 CFR 25)a. U.S. Coast Guard approved fire extinguishers are hand portable, provided with amounting bracket, and are required on boats where a fire hazard could be expected from the engine or fuel system. Extinguishers are classified by letter and a number symbol. The letter indicates the type of fire the unit is designed to extinguish (Type B, for example, is designed to extinguish flammable liquids, such as gasoline, oil, and grease fires). The number indicates the relative size of the extinguisher (minimum extinguishing agent weight). They can be identified byte following markings:(1) “Marine Type U.S. Coast Guard Approved, Size__ Type __, 162.028/___”

"Owners should check extinguishers monthly to ensure that:(1) Seals and tamper indicators are not broken or missing.(2) Pressure gauges or indicators read in the operable range. If there is nogauge or indicator, verify the weight or fullness of the unit.NOTE: CO2 extinguishers do not have gauges.(3) There is no obvious physical damage, corrosion, leakage, or cloggednozzles (discharge hose if provided).f. All portable extinguishers must be aboard and should be readily accessible (it isrecommended that they be mounted, but not required).g. Fire extinguishers used on boats must be specifically marked “Marine Type U. S.Coast Guard Approved.”

Inspection Vessel Safety Check Techniques:
(1) Ask the operator to retrieve each extinguisher. Ensure that all extinguishers are approved types and in serviceable condition, including no evidence of corrosion, leakage, discharge, or physical damage to the extinguisher or discharge nozzle (hose, if provided). The approval labels and instructions must be clearly legible.
(2) Verify that the pressure indicator is in the normal charge range. or low readings are cause for disqualification.
3) Testing dry chemical extinguishers by holding the fire extinguisher inverted and solidly hitting the base of the extinguisher with the palm of the hand several times is no longer an acceptable practice, possibly resulting in clogging the discharge tube. Additionally, the use of flowing and anti-caking agents has eliminated the problem with caked powder, eliminating the need to rotate the fire extinguisher to feel the powder flowing.
(4) Most of the small extinguishers on recreational boats are non rechargeable, stored pressure, dry chemical extinguishers. The label will clearly state that the extinguisher is non-refillable or non-rechargeable.(5) The rechargeable, stored-pressure, dry chemical extinguisher needs to be professionally maintained and serviced every six years. This can be verified by looking at the tag attached to the extinguisher.(6) Check the visual gauge at the top to determine that the plastic crystal3-17COMDTINST M16796.8Acovering of the indicator is not being pushed against the needle. It is okay to tap the pressure indicator lightly or push a pressure indicating pin in/out several times when testing dry chemical fire extinguishers.(7) Verify that the manual controls for fixed systems are located outside that the system is designed to protect. System tests are not required. The intact seal is sufficient evidence of compliance.(8) Verify that in automatically actuated systems the thermal activated fusible elements in the sprinkler heads are intact. If there is any indication that the system may have been discharged, the operator should be advised to system inspected.(9) Discuss additional safety points with the operator and crew to know their firefighting capabilities and limitations."
 
Here is the date detail - Note than if no date is evident it is assumed to be more than 12 yrs old and expired by definition
 

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We get a Vessel Safety Check every year and have our extinguishers serviced at the same time. The VSC inspector asks to see the stamped date and when they were last serviced. The extinguishers get a new tag during the servicing. That pretty much covers all the bases and is one less thing to be concerned with.
 
We get a Vessel Safety Check every year and have our extinguishers serviced at the same time. The VSC inspector asks to see the stamped date and when they were last serviced. The extinguishers get a new tag during the servicing. That pretty much covers all the bases and is one less thing to be concerned with.
Bob
Are you referring to your non-refillable hand helds getting "serviced" or a fixed ER system?
 
Refillable hand helds and the fixed er system.
 
Larry M, Thank you for posting the Xintrex letter. My local fire extinguisher shop didn’t know what to do with my unit to check it and I didn’t find the guidance on weighing the canister.
 
Refillable hand helds and the fixed er system.
Bob
Thanks for confirming.
OK that makes sense with refillables. Important to differentiate and the details are sometimes not communicated or fully understood w forum posts like this and word of mouth relay of requirements.
 
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