The Captain Rob Cozen
Certified Marine Surveyor NewsLetter
exercise extreme caution when fueling a boat. Remember, gasoline
vapors can be more explosive than dynamite. Since gasoline vapor
is heavier than air, it may settle in the bilge and a spark may
trigger an explosion.
Most boat fires occur just after refueling. They are caused
by smoking, poor maintenance or carelessness. Common sense can
prevent most fires. Check the entire fuel system for leaks. Tighten
connections frequently. Motor vibrations and rough weather loosen
Prepare outboard gas and oil mixtures on the dock when possible.
Pour gasoline and oil into a separate container and shake well.
Then strain into the tank with a strainer or funnel. Grit, water
and dirt can ruin a motor. Do not fill the tank completely. Allow
for (heat) expansion. Store extra gasoline on board in a separate,
safety-approved, auxiliary tank. Be sure that the tank has a good
air supply. Keep the tank away from the boat's motor and batteries.
TAKE THE TIME TO BE SAFE!
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- Always remove the portable tanks from the boat for refueling.
- Shut off motors that could create a spark or heat. Turn off
electrical equipment and liquid propane gas tanks.
- Close all windows, doors, and openings (companionways) before
refueling. Overcome the natural tendency to leave everything
open. Closing all compartments prevents vapors from seeping into
- Try to fuel before night. If light is needed, use a flashlight
or a light that is spark-proof.
- Never smoke when fueling or near a fuel dock. Check tobacco
that might be smoldering.
- When filling from a gas can, touch the fuel pipe or tank
with the spout while pouring. This prevents a build-up of static
electricity when could produce a spark.
- When fueling from a pump, keep the nozzle in contact with
- After fueling, wipe up all spilled fuel. Air the rag after
using. Never throw it into the boat or the water. If it must
be stored, seal it in a tightly covered metal container.
- Gasoline vapors must be drawn or forced out of low pockets
in the Bilge. Open all doors, windows, ports and hatches. Let
the air blow through for at least five minutes. Use only explosion-proof
fans with spark-proof switches to clear the area of fumes. Turn
on your power blower for at least four minutes.
- Open the engine compartment and check all lines and connections
for leaks. Sniff around gas lines, motor and bilges. When vapors
are gone, start the motor.
Master Marine Surveyor
P.O. Box 220
Somers Point, NJ 08244
Office: (609) 926-4949 - Cell: (609) 335-1500
(Outside South Jersey) (800) 64SURVEY - Toll Free!
copyright 1997, Captain Rob Cozen, all rights reserved.