Coast Guard Station Fire Island crews responded to a report of a vessel in distress in East Islip, Long Island, NY, Thursday.

Station Fire Island’s communications watchstander received a distress call from a boater who reported, “smoke emanating from the engine space, a possible fire.” The boater also reported they did not have a fire extinguisher aboard or a secondary means of communication.

“When help arrived there was no fire aboard the vessel but the engine had overheated,” said Seaman Owen Rosenthal, of Station Fire Island. “The boaters were extremely fortunate that there wasn’t a fire since their vessel was not properly equipped with a fire extinguisher.”

This wasn’t the first time that the station’s crew came upon a vessel without proper fire extinguishing equipment. Wednesday, the station’s law enforcement boarding team terminated the voyages of two vessels. One vessel’s fire extinguisher lacked proper charge. The other vessel did not have a fire extinguisher aboard.

Federal Law, which the Coast Guard enforces, requires fire extinguishers on vessels if one of the following exists:

  • Inboard engine(s)
  • Closed compartments that store portable fuel tanks
  • Double bottom hulls not completely sealed or not completely filled with flotation materials
  • Closed living space
  • Closed sewage compartments that contain flammable materials
  • Permanently installed fuel tanks.

Fire extinguishers must be readily accessible and verified as serviceable.

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