Maus Fire Extinguishers—A Breakthrough?

For years now we have had six fire extinguishers on Morgan’s Cloud located as follows:

  • Forward cabin
  • Salon next to the companionway
  • Aft cabin
  • Lazarette (in case we get trapped on deck by a fire)
  • Engine room (large and activated by a temperature sensor)
  • Galley

And, while I don’t claim to be any sort of expert on fire suppression or, more to the point, fire suppression at sea, Phyllis and I have always felt that this gave us some good options to deal with most fires we could imagine.

All but one of the extinguishers are of the clean agent type—halocarbon gas, purchased in the USA in 2004—to avoid the mess and damage that the use of other agents such as foam or powder result in.

The exception is the galley extinguisher, which is dry powder, in keeping with the recommendation we received from the fire suppression salesperson, who advised that the chance of a grease fire reigniting after a clean agent disperses, disqualified the latter type.

And therein lies a problem. Human nature being what it is, I just know that in the event of a grease fire in the galley we would hesitate to use the dry powder extinguisher because of the mess it would create.

And said hesitation could be the end of our boat, and maybe even us, since speed of action is the number one contributor to a successful outcome in firefighting.

By the way, if you have never let one of these dry chemical extinguishers off—I did in a long-ago course—don’t underestimate the mess. It’s bad enough that you may regret that the boat didn’t burn to the waterline!

That Was Then…This Is Now

Maus Klein

But then, last year, member Peter Mannerstråle left a comment telling us about a new type of extinguisher from Maus, made in Sweden, which packs a huge punch in a small package—equivalent to a 1-kg dry powder extinguisher, at least (see video)—leaves no residue, and is suitable for grease fires.

I was so intrigued that I wrote to the company, and they kindly sent us four units for evaluation.

My first idea was to actually test a couple of them by intentionally lighting off some hot cooking oil—not below on the boat of course—and having a go at putting the fire out.

But the more I thought about it, the less sense that made, since I don’t have any fire suppression testing expertise or the extensive experience with other units that would be required to realistically evaluate the result.

And I also realized that since these units have been tested and certified effective by agencies that specialize in this sort of thing, I was not going to add anything useful by doing my own test.

And, in the same vein, I’m not going to go into a long dissertation on how they work. Rather, here’s a video on just that. Have a watch and then I will detail what I think the benefits are for cruising boats:
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Meet the Author

John

John was born and brought up in Bermuda and started sailing as a child, racing locally and offshore before turning to cruising. He has sailed over 100,000 miles, most of it on his McCurdy & Rhodes 56, Morgan's Cloud, including eight ocean races to Bermuda, culminating in winning his class twice in the Newport Bermuda Race. He has skippered a series of voyages in the North Atlantic, the majority of which have been to the high latitudes. John has been helping others go voyaging by sharing his experience for twenty years, first in yachting magazines and, for the last 12 years, as co-editor/publisher of AAC.

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