Safe Fuelling

Safely Fill a Gas Tank

  1. Tie the boat securely.
  2. Shut off engines.
  3. All passengers must go ashore.
  4. Extinguish all open flames, cigarettes.
  5. Close all windows and hatches.
  6. Take portable tanks ashore for filling.
  7. Do not take your hand away from the hose during filling. If you must, touch a metal object before touching the metal nozzle to discharge any static buildup - static electricity can ignite vapours.
  8. Hold gas nozzle against the filler pipe to prevent sparks.
  9. Don't use electrical switches - that includes cell phones.
  10. Know approximately how much fuel you will need, don't overfill.
  11. Leakage or spillage into the hull must be prevented.
  12. Wipe any spillage on deck and dispose cloth ashore.
  13. Ventilate the bilge using a spark-protected marine blower with properly located air inlet and exhaust outlet. Run the blower at least five minutes before starting the engine
  14. Check the bilge with your NOSE - don't depend on fume detectors!

Whenever gasoline is spilled in the bilge, anything more than a few drips, the response should always be to call the fire department. Don't take a chance. A quarter cup of gas in the bilge can blow up your boat and anyone in it! That will really spoil your day.

Flame arrestors are required on marine engine installations. Clean them with soap and water. Drip pans must be fitted under the carburetor for inboard gas engines.

Keep fire extinguishers near engines, stoves, and sleeping areas. Keep one in the cockpit! An electronic bilge sniffer designed to detect gas or propane can save your life. Quality battery-operated detectors are capable of detecting carbon-monoxide, a deadly and odourless gas from stoves, heaters, engine exhaust and generators.

Filling portable Gas Tanks

Always put gas containers on the ground before filling. Never fill a gas container inside a boat or a vehicle. Keep the nozzle in contact with the can to prevent sparks. Use only containers designed for gasoline (they will be red and labeled by a standards association such as UL or CSE). Never fuel near any kind of flame or cigarette!

Fires are common at filling stations when filling metal gas cans placed on plastic surfaces (like truck liners). When gas flows into a metal can it causes a static charge to build up, which cannot dissipate if the can is sitting on a plastic surface. Then if the gas nozzle is not in close contact with the gas can, a spark can occur between the gas can and the fuel nozzle. At the neck of the gas can, gas vapour can ignite, causing a fire.

Ethanol in Gasoline

E15 gasoline — fuel blended with 15 percent ethanol — voids many engine warranties. Ethanol in gasoline can cause phase-separation. When moisture is introduced to an on-board fuel tank because of variations in temperature or high humidity, it binds with the ethanol and settles as sludge in the bottom of the tank. Ethanol has also been known to be corrosive to metal fuel tanks and engine components. Check your engine manual before using it. lists every station and marina in the U.S. and Canada that sells ethanol-free gas.

Biodegradable Fuel and Oil

Boats are now using soydiesel, an environmentally-friendly, oxygenated fuel made from soybean oil (diesel is made from petroleum). It has lower emissions of just about everything except nitrogen oxide (bad), but there isn't any smell, it's biodegradable if spilled, and you don't get that black stuff on your stern. Of course, since it's only made in Kansas and Massachusetts, the price is almost double the regular diesel. Too bad.

Fuel Prices

Marinas charge more for fuel for many reasons. Low volume means no bulk discounts. Dockside installation costs are higher. Dock staff is needed to help boats tie up and safely fill the tanks. Insurance costs are higher due to environmental fines for leaks or water contamination. (Note: Filling gas tanks with gerry cans is banned in many marinas because of insurance liability for spills and fire.) Learn a few tips "How to Save Fuel" - I'm sure you'll find something useful.

If you travel to the U.S., the gas comes in U.S. gallons (smaller than our old Imperial gallon) and you pay in U.S. dollars (different from ours). Confused? Just take the U.S. price and divide it by 3.7853, then divide the result by the current value of the Canadian dollar. Example: $4.50 USD per U.S. gallon and the Canadian dollar worth $.78, then the price converts to $1.52 CAD per litre. If you have the value of the USD dollar - $1.28 CAD - multiply instead (second line).
4.50 / 3.7853 / .78 = 1.52
4.50 / 3.7853 X 1.28 = 1.52

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