Be well prepared in case of fire

When owning a boat, it is essential to be aware of the dangers that can occur on board. Fire is one of those risks that is best anticipated in order to deal with it in the safest and most effective way.


The ABC of fire extinguishers

Did you know that not all extinguishers are created equal. They are classified according to a letter (A, B or C) that indicates the type of fire they can control. It is ideal is to have a fire extinguisher with all three letters (ABC).



The extinguisher identified by the letter A is used to extinguish a fire that can ignite materials such as wood, fabric, paper, rubber and plastic.



If combustible liquids, such as gasoline, oil and grease, catch fire, a Class B fire extinguisher must be used.



The Class C fire extinguisher is designed for electrical fires.


What intensity?

The letter on the extinguisher is preceded by a number that indicates the level of fire intensity that the extinguisher can handle. The higher the number, the more intense the fire it can help control.


For motor boats

Boats with an internal motor must have a BC type fire extinguisher, from 5 to 10 amperage, that is on board and easily accessible. Of course, the larger the size of the boat, the more fire extinguishers that are needed.


Note that on-board fire extinguishers must be certified by an organization such as ULC or UL, or approved by the United States Coast Guard (USCG).


And don't neglect the maintenance of your fire extinguisher, it must be checked regularly. Also make sure you and your guests know how to use it.


Essential accessories on board

  • An axe: consider having one on board to open a blocked door, to extinguish a fire caught between two layers of the hull or to cut the anchor rope in case of an emergency. Store it away from the elements, but in an accessible place.
  • A bucket with a capacity of at least 10 litres: Be aware that the BC type extinguisher, which is mandatory on board indoor power boats, cannot extinguish a Type A fire caught in solid materials, such as fabric or wood. You can turn it off by pouring your full bucket of water  on it. If the height of your boat makes it more difficult to access the water, be sure to tie a rope to it.


These few precautions could prevent your trip on the water from turning into a disaster. It is a matter of thinking about how to  be well protected!



Cartebateau.com – équipement de lutte incendie (in French only)

Safe Boating Guide (page 32-33)



The content in this article is for information purposes only and is not intended to be relied upon as professional or expert advice. Aviva and the Aviva logo are trademarks of Aviva plc. and are used under licence by Aviva Canada Inc. and its subsidiary companies.Text