Fire protection

Recreational vessels are required to carry fire protection equipment in accordance with the Marine Safety Regulations.

Depending on the type of vessel and equipment on board, fire protection equipment may include one or more of the following:

Portable fire extinguishers

Portable fire extinguishers are required on all powered recreational vessels equipped with an electric start motor, gas installation, fuel stove or where any fuel is carried. They must be of a dry chemical type that complies with the relevant Australian Standards.

Table 1: Number of fire extinguishers required by vessel size

The table shows the number of fire extinguishers that vessels are required to carry according to its size.

Vessel sizeNumber required
Less than 8mOne
8m to 12mTwo
Greater than 12mThree

Table 2: Minimum fire extinguisher capacity

The table describes the minimum required size of a fire extinguisher according to a vessels capacity of flammable or combustible liquids that are able to be carried on the vessel.

Flammable or combustible liquids capacityMinimum capacity of one of the fire extinguishers
Less than 115 litres0.9 kg
115 to 350 litres2.0 kg
351 to 695 litres4.5 kg
More than 695 litres9.0 kg

Fire blankets

A fire blanket must also be carried on vessels where cooking facilities are located in an enclosed space. For example, the galley on a yacht.

The blanket must be positioned in a conspicuous location that is readily accessible to a person using the
cooking facilities. It must comply with Australian Standard AS/NZS 3504 "Fire blankets".

Bucket with lanyard

A bucket with lanyard must be carried on all powered boats. A bucket with lanyard allows water to be used to extinguish wood, paper and plastic fires.

The lanyard should be long enough to safely lower the bucket over the side of the vessel and retrieve full of water.

The bucket should be of a size that is able to be hoisted over the side of the vessel full of water. A ten litre bucket full of water weighs about ten kilograms.

The bucket may also be used as a bailer to bail water out of the vessel.

Fixed fire extinguishing systems

Instead of using a portable fire extinguisher, the master may fit their vessel with an approved fixed fire extinguishing system to the enclosed engine compartment, as long as it is of the equivalent size.

If the vessel must have multiple extinguishers, the fixed fire extinguishing system must be equivalent to the nominated portable fire extinguisher size and the additional portable fire extinguishers can be any size.


Michelle's 4.2m aluminium boat with a 25 HP engine has a fuel carrying capacity of 40 litres. The minimum fire fighting requirements are:

  • one 0.9kg dry chemical portable fire extinguisher (vessel less than 8m, with less than 115 litre fuel capacity)
  • one bucket with lanyard.

John's 10m Sports Cruiser can carry 1,000 litres of fuel (including cooking gas) and has a galley below deck. The minimum fire fighting requirements are:

With fixed fire extinguishing system:

  • fixed fire extinguishing system of at least 9.0kg capacity
  • one dry chemical portable fire extinguisher of any size
  • one fire blanket
  • one bucket with lanyard.

Without fixed fire extinguishing system:

  • two dry chemical portable fire extinguishers, one of which must be a 9.0kg dry chemical portable fire extinguisher
  • one fire blanket
  • one bucket with lanyard.

A fixed fire extinguishing system must comply with International Standard ISO 9094 "Small craft - Fire protection" Part 1 and Part 2.

Visit our vessel maintenance section for information about boat fire prevention and fire extinguisher maintenance.

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