With boating season upon us, spending a day on the water, whether for recreational purposes or for your own sanity, seems like a day well spent. The last thing you want to think about is a possible fire onboard, resorting to an abandon-ship situation. Although boat fires aren’t common, it’s imperative to have reliable fire extinguishers onboard to ensure the safety of your boat and crew.
Fire extinguishers require regular maintenance to ensure compliancy and peace of mind. Before sailing away into the sunset, remember to add the following fire extinguisher maintenance tips to your boat safety and equipment checklist:
1. Check for rust, dents, or chemical deposits
Even the smallest leak will render your device useless. It’s important to inspect your fire extinguishers on a monthly basis to check for any signs of a leak or corrosion.
2. Give it a shake
The worst thing that can happen during a boat fire is finding out that your fire extinguishers simply don’t work. By shaking your dry chemical fire extinguishers on a monthly basis, you’re preventing settling and hardening of the contents at the bottom of the canister.
3. Recharge or replace after usage
It’s imperative that your fire extinguishers are recharged or replaced even after a single use. Check to see if the seal is broken or missing and the last date of inspection.
4. Ensure fire extinguishers are reachable
As time goes by and the boating season progresses, you may find your lazarette becoming more cluttered. Fire extinguishers need to be within reach. You don’t want to be struggling to find a fire extinguisher when you need it most.
5. Adhere to regular fire extinguisher inspection
Your fire extinguishers need to be properly mounted, tagged, and inspected on a semi-annual or annual basis by a certified company to ensure that they are ready for duty when the times comes.
When you’re out in the open water, your readily available, fully charged and inspected fire extinguishers act as your first line of defense against a boat fire.