® | Official Canadian Boating License

Fire Extinguishers

Red fire extinguisher for emergency use when boating. The letters on a fire extinguisher indicate what types of fires it is designed to fight.

Fires are classified as follows:

  • Class A: Materials that burn, such as wood, cloth, paper, rubber and plastic;
  • Class B: Liquids that burn, such as gas, oil and grease;
  • Class C: Electrical equipment.


A class 5BC fire extinguisher is required on any boat with an inboard motor, a fixed fuel tank, or an appliance that burns fuel. The letters BC identify the types of fire that the extinguisher will put out (see above).

The number before the letter(s) on an extinguisher rates the extinguisher’s relative fire-fighting effectiveness (a 10ABC extinguisher puts out a bigger fire than a 5ABC extinguisher).

The fire extinguisher must be mounted in a convenient and accessible location and checked for the correct operating pressure. Show your guests the location prior to starting your outing.

A marine rated fire extinguisher is highly recommended because of its resistance to corrosion.

When using an extinguisher, aim at the base of the flames. Then squeeze the handle and sweep the fire by spraying from left to right in a sweeping motion.


Any fire extinguisher you choose must be certified and labeled by either:

  • ULC (Underwriters’ Laboratories of Canada);
  • UL (Underwriters’ Laboratories, Inc., or
  • The U.S. Coast Guard.
REMEMBER: The number of fire extinguishers required on a boat depends on: 1) the length of the boat, 2) type of appliances on board, and 3) sleeping accommodation (if any).

Study Guide