The Nautical Blog

Boat Safety Class – Week/Lesson 2

Tonight’s class was all about safety equipment, life jackets and fire extinguishers.

Did you know boaters have just 40 seconds to either getting the heck off the boat or grabbing your fire extinguisher once a fire starts? But, make sure it’s the right type of fire extinguisher (Class B) AND it still works.

According to the USCG rules, you must have the following on your boat:
(depending on the size of your boat and the type of fire extinguisher)

Boat Size

# USCG Type B

< 26 ft.

1 B-1

26 ft. to 39 ft.

2 B-1s or 1 B-2

40 ft. to 65 ft.

3 B-1s or 1 B-1 & 1 B-2


Type Fire extinguisher

USCG Type B-1

USCG Type B-2

Underwriters Laboratories Listing



Aqueous Foam (gals)



Carbon dioxide (lbs)



Dry Chemical (lbs)*



Fe-241 (lbs)



* most popular type of fire extinguisher on recreational boats

However, an electrical fire needs a CO2 fire extinguisher and a grease fire uses dry chemical.

Life jackets –

Type 1 is good for offshore, sailing and must be on all commercial vessels. These will turn an unconscious person overboard right side up to keep their head out of the water, great for rough waters and they provide 22 lbs of flotation which means it displaces 22 lbs of water when overboard.

Type 2 are similar to type 1 except they are considered for near-shore, has less buoyancy and not as comfortable.

Type 3 are known as flotation vests, similar to type 2 but will not turn an unconscious person upright. Not good in a delayed rescue.

Type 4 are known as throwable devices and used for those who have fallen into the water.

Type 5 are known as special use devices and must be used according to its label.

All Coast Guard approved lifejackets must show the manufacturer’s name and approval number. You are required to have at least one lifejacket of suitable size for each person on your boat.

Other Safety Equipment to have on board:

– Bell – if your boat is over 26 ft, MA law requires one

– Strobe Lights – can only be used in Inlet Waters, Not Intl’ waters

– Flares – minimum of 3 on a boat

– Ditch bag – good for keeping things in that you would need if going overboard or if you’re going into a dinghy

– Anchor line – long enough for the deepest waters that you’ll be in times seven

– Ladder – again, required by MA law

A good book to have is: Chart No 1

Homeland Security – 1- 877 – 24 – watch

homework assignment – Chapter 5.  No class May 25th – Memorial Day. See you in June!

Comments (4)

AndrewBoldmanJune 4th, 2009 at 5:25 pm

Hi, cool post. I have been wondering about this topic,so thanks for writing.

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JaneRadrigesJune 13th, 2009 at 6:47 pm

Hi, very nice post. I have been wonder’n bout this issue,so thanks for posting

KattyBlackyardJune 15th, 2009 at 4:22 am

The best information i have found exactly here. Keep going Thank you

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