Preventive Fire

How to Choose the Best Fire Extinguishing System for Your Boat

No matter the size of your boat, you’ll want to take steps to protect it. Whether it’s docked or you take it out on the water, fire protection is an essential step in ensuring the safety of your boat and its passengers. For the best protection, it’s vital to install a comprehensive fire suppression system that addresses fire threats in critical areas. 

Start With a Fire Alert System

Basic fire safety in any environment starts with a reliable alert system. For a smaller boat, this might consist of placing smoke or heat alarms near the engine. On most boats, the most common place for a fire to start is near the engine. Exposed wires combined with dripping fuel or oil can lead to an unexpected electrical fire.

On a larger boat, you’ll want multiple fire alarms. In addition to placing fire detection equipment in the engine room, place alarms throughout the boat. Any boat with a galley should have alarms installed near stoves, ovens, and other cooking appliances. 

Look for a system that routes all alarms to a single control panel since this will help you identify threats at a glance.

Ensure Portable Fire Extinguishers Are Available

The U.S. Coast Guard and individual U.S. states have laws requiring a minimum of one portable fire extinguisher on each marine vessel. 

For example, in Florida, a boat under 26 feet must have a minimum of one class B extinguisher on board. Boats that measure 26 to 40 feet must have two class B extinguishers, while larger boats over 40 feet must have at least three portable class B extinguishers.

You won’t need a class A extinguisher, since water will extinguish class A fires. Class B extinguishers will put out fires that result from flammable liquids, such as diesel fuel, gasoline, and cooking oil. Class C extinguishers are useful for fires that result from faulty electrical wiring. 

For the best marine fire protection, opt for class B-C extinguishers, which can suppress any type of fire on board a boat.  

Install Automatic Fire Suppression Equipment

It’s also a wise decision to install an automated fire suppression system. Although a portable extinguisher comes in handy in putting out small fires before they spread, you might not be able to get to a fire early. 

In these cases, the flames may spread out of control before you can use an extinguisher. An automated sprinkler system or similar type of fire suppression system can extinguish larger fires more efficiently. 

Automated fire suppression systems aren’t as costly as many people assume. For a small 26-foot boat, you can find automated systems within the $100 price range. An automated fire suppression system for a larger boat with a twin diesel motor can cost $3,000 on average. 

Additionally, if your boat features a kitchen, there are sprinkler models available that are specific to kitchen fire systems.

Replace Fire Suppression Systems in Older Boats

If you own an older boat, it’s especially important to remove the original fire suppression system. Many older models use CO2 systems to extinguish engine fires. If you’re in the area when the CO2 gas gets released, your safety may become compromised.

Other older boats use halon systems. Although halon gas is effective in extinguishing fires, it also has devastating effects on the planet’s ozone. For that reason, the United States discontinued the use of this gas in the 1990s. 

Upgrading to a newer system will offer the fire protection you need without raising other environmental, safety, or health concerns.

High-Quality Fire Protection for Your Boat

At Preventive Fire, we provide a comprehensive selection of commercial-grade fire protection equipment, including alarms and extinguishing systems. You’ll find everything you need to effectively protect your boat against fires when you shop with us. 

Our high number of 5-star reviews demonstrates our continued commitment to customer satisfaction. Contact us today to find out more about protecting your boat against fires.