A popular brand of marine fire extinguisher has been recalled
If you don’t have a fire extinguisher on your boat, you should. They are required by Michigan law if your boat has closed compartments under seats where portable fuel tanks may be stored or if your boat has closed storage compartments in which flammable or combustible materials may be stored.
You also are required to have an extinguisher if your boat has permanently-installed fuel tanks or a double bottom (such as a floor) not sealed to the hull, or which is not completely filled with flotation material. Of course, any boat with enclosed living spaces requires one and in that case, I’d have two. One in the cabin and one on the back deck.
I don’t have a cabin on my boat but still have two fire extinguishers, one mounted behind each of the seats. If a fire were to occur, I’d want an extinguisher handy and a back-up gives me great peace of mind.
One of the most popular brands of fire extinguishers for boats are models made by Kidde. These extinguishers are the disposable kind (non-refillable) and may be painted either red or white. If that’s what you own and it’s fairly new, it may be in line for a recall. The black plastic valve and trigger is the defective part. One of mine was on the list.
Here’s what to check. The recalled extinguishers were manufactured in 2013 and 2014. Embossed on the bottom of the canister of one of mine was 2013 so I examined it closer. All models have a 10-digit date code stamped in ink on the side of the canister. The important numbers in the code are the fifth through the ninth number, specifically, if the code falls between XXXX20413X through XXXX36513X for an extinguisher made in 2013 or XXXX00114X through XXXX28814X if made in 2014.
If you have a “loser” you'll need to call: (855) 283-7991. Locate the model number, the serial number and the date code and either write them down or have the unit in hand when you call. Kidde will send you a new one at no charge and give instructions on what to do with the old one. (Usually, take it to a fire department.)
In the meantime, there’s a good chance your old one will still operate perfectly. Only a handful of incidents occurred, prompting the recall and most of the incidents dealt with the canister not completely discharging. In a pinch, a half load is better than none at all.
The website for further information is one of those long URLs filled with letters, numbers and symbols. It’s easier to just type “Kidde recall” in a search engine and click to the exact site.