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Old 26-04-2013, 16:52   #1
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CG inspection and fire extinguishers

It is time to replace the fire exitinguisers on the boat. So my question is, what is the difference between marine grade ABC, and just regular grade units. And if we get inspected by CG will non-marine grade pass
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Old 26-04-2013, 16:56   #2
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Re: CG inspection and fire extinguishers

A lot of non-marine grade have USCG certification in the fine print on the extinguisher. They need to be USCG approved. Why is it "time to replace them." Smaller recreational ones don't have an expiration date on them. There are different requirements if you have a USCG inspected vessel for taking out passengers.
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Old 26-04-2013, 17:10   #3
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Re: CG inspection and fire extinguishers

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Originally Posted by Kettlewell View Post
A lot of non-marine grade have USCG certification in the fine print on the extinguisher. They need to be USCG approved. Why is it "time to replace them." Smaller recreational ones don't have an expiration date on them. There are different requirements if you have a USCG inspected vessel for taking out passengers.
ours are 20 years old, and insurance surveyor wrote them up as needing to be reinspected, (kinda an *******).
But, it is what it is, and to having them inspected and tagged cost more than replacing if regular ones will work.
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Old 26-04-2013, 17:55   #4
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Re: CG inspection and fire extinguishers

Hand held fire extinguishers should be replaced every 8-10 years. These things are cheap and why on earth would you want to risk your life on a 20 year old unit to save 30 bucks? I have seen 20 year old units with the gauge still in the green being shot off and only a brief spurt of chem came out and them nothing! Not only do most boats not have enough units most are too old. I have seen boats with units 40 years old and the owner swears they are ok because the gauge is still in the green. I have also seen units rusted through with the gauge stuck in the green I think it rusted in position. And calling the surveyor an ******* because he is trying to keep you safe is just not smart! You should have them inspected and if you take a few in to a inspection office they will not charge too much but it is more economical to just replace them every 10 years. Always get units with gauges and once a year turn them over and tap them with a rubber mallet. This will loosen the chemical powder as it gets packed down and will not all come out when needed. And you can find the manufacture date stamped on the bottom.
Here is a link to an article i wrote for Southwinds awhile back for those interested: Project Boat Zen - Boat and Yacht Repair and Restoration
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Old 26-04-2013, 18:49   #5
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Re: CG inspection and fire extinguishers

While many residential fire extinguishers are USCG approved, that is only the case if they are mounted with the appropriate fitting. Sometimes the mounting brackets are sold separately, often direct from the manufacturer, and other times they are included. I bought a pair of fire extinguishers with brackets at Costco for an attractive price.

Agree on the need to keep the powder loose, using a rubber mallet. You should be able to rock the tank around a horizontal position and feel weight shift as the powder flows inside. If not, then only a tiny bit of powder will come out before all of the propellant is released - not very effective at fire suppression.

If your current extinguishers are high quality, with metal valves, and are in good condition then you might just get them serviced. This includes a hydro test on the tank and replacement of the powder/propellant. Cheap ones with plastic valves are a throwaway item - however, drop them off at a fire extinguisher company for disposal.

I would not be saying such things about the surveyor - he is making a legitimate point. A USCG inspection could get ugly if the extinguishers are not up to snuff (not to mention what might happen if you need them). BTW in commercial applications inspections must be done frequently, and logged on the tag. And the tank needs a hydro test every 5 years. 20 years? Yeah, the surveyor was right.

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Old 26-04-2013, 19:37   #6
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Re: CG inspection and fire extinguishers

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailvayu View Post
-----
get units with gauges and once a year turn them over and tap them with a rubber mallet. -----
I believe once a month would be better.
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Old 26-04-2013, 21:05   #7
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Re: CG inspection and fire extinguishers

Folks, you really need to fire one of those dry chemical extinguishers some time, outside where it won't do any significant damage. Then, gather all of the remaining dry chem units and give them away to poorer folks. Go out and purchase those outrageously expensive Halotron extinguishers AND a CG approved foam extinguisher. If you ever have a fire on your boat, a dry chem unit will cause greater damage than the fire. The halotrons are clean and effective. If you have to evacuate to the cockpit, then you bring in the big guns, the foam extinguisher. I know this from experience: I had a dry chem go off accidentally in the old beater car I used to have. Fortunately, the car was stolen, later, so I didn't have to live with the consequences. Dry chem extinguishers will send their contents into your electronics, electrical switching, upholstery, headliner, clothing storage, reefer and freezer fans and motors, etc. They are bad news, but they are cheap and no one ever expects to need one, do they? Here's an entertaining video to confirm this issue: .
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Old 27-04-2013, 06:28   #8
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Re: CG inspection and fire extinguishers

OK a clarification on the surveyor
One example was, I had a mechanic on board and he had disconnected a battery and set it on top of the fuel cell so he could get to the shaft seal. The surveyor wrote up that "the battery was installed on top of the fuel cell". Even after I explained the reason for it. Hell the mechanic was even there during the survey
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Old 27-04-2013, 07:23   #9
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Re: CG inspection and fire extinguishers

The easiest way to determine if you have the proper safety equipment is ask for a USCG Auxillary Inspection... It is free and you can't get in trouble if you don't pass. When I was in the states I did an annual insection at the beginning of each season, just to make sure the vessel was compliant.

To the OP... YES is is required to purchase USCG Approved Extinguishers. If they are not approved by the USCG, you may receive a ticket, if you are inspected.

Here are a couple of links:
USCG Pamplet on Safety Equipment
http://www.uscgboating.org/assets/1/...ations/420.PDF

Here is a link to the actual Code of Federal Regulations concerning Fire Extinguishers:
25.30-20 - Fire extinguishing equipment required. - Part 25: Requirements - Code of Federal Regulations - Title 46: Shipping - December 30, 2005 - Order: 25.30 - 19846501 - Part 25: Requirements - Id 19846501 - vLex
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Old 27-04-2013, 07:40   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JusDreaming View Post
It is time to replace the fire exitinguisers on the boat. So my question is, what is the difference between marine grade ABC, and just regular grade units. And if we get inspected by CG will non-marine grade pass
Like most things labeled "marine grade" this is rubbish in terms of small dry chem fire extinguishers...the only real difference is the price.

Go to a hardware store and buy exactly the same thing for a fraction of the price. As long as you have the correct type (BC), size and number aboard you meet USCG standards.
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Old 27-04-2013, 08:37   #11
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Re: CG inspection and fire extinguishers

Good video Roy!

From the relative messes, I think I would lean towards foam extinguishers. Just watching the dry chem one made me stop breathing!
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Old 27-04-2013, 08:45   #12
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Re: CG inspection and fire extinguishers

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Originally Posted by belizesailor View Post
Go to a hardware store and buy exactly the same thing for a fraction of the price. As long as you have the correct type (BC), size and number aboard you meet USCG standards.
You are not correct.

It must be USCG Approved for Marine Use or you are in violtion of the Code of Federal Regulations, as well as IMO (See above CFR link I posted)
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Old 27-04-2013, 08:47   #13
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Re: CG inspection and fire extinguishers

madtart, Don't rely on just the foam unit (| Coast Guard Approved 2 Gallon AFFF Foam ExtinguisherAmerex Fire). The Halotron unit (West Marine) leaves ZERO residue. After the flare-up, you don't want to have to replace the galley, the electrical panel or the engine. I'm also going to get one of the fire blankets. I understand that they are required for boats entering New Zealand and other places. Such a simple solution to a potentially destructive event.
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Old 27-04-2013, 09:26   #14
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Re: CG inspection and fire extinguishers

The Ace Hardware ones are fine. (witht he exception noted above about the mess after use!) I would replace them often, at least every 3-4 years. The powder compacts from the boat vibration etc, often they wont work after too long. They are inexpensive.
from the CFR: "
Extinguisher markings can be confusing because one extinguisher
can be approved for several different types of fires (A, B, or C) For
example, an extinguisher marked “Type A, Size II; Type B; C, Size I” is
acceptable as a Type B-I extinguisher"
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Old 27-04-2013, 09:33   #15
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Re: CG inspection and fire extinguishers

I did some research into the OP's question when I had to replace my expiring extinguishers last year. Many of the so called home extinguishers are in fact USCG approved when mounted in an approved bracket (you have to look at the fine print on the box). I found that in most cases this was the bracket included in the box. The "Marine" extinguishers were plastic or plastic coated, non-rechargable, had less extinguishing agent, expire after 10 years and cost a lot more. Depending on your application this may not offer you any advantage. If I was putting the unit in an open boat such as an outboard skiff, I would go for the marine extinguisher as it is likely to survive salt spray exposure for longer. My extingishers are located in a nice relatively dry cabin and the USCG approved "home" extinguishers hold up just fine.
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