2013 New York Safe Boating Textbook - (Page 24)

FUELING AND VENTILATION Fueling your boat can be dangerous—improper fueling practices are the cause of most fires aboard boats. Gasoline vapor is heaver than air, so it will always seek the lowest location in the boat: the bilge. The bilge area usually runs through the engine space, so this means that gasoline vapor can gather around the engine. Fuel vapors quickly reach explosive levels when trapped in a boat’s engine compartment, and any ignition, even the smallest spark, can create an explosion. 5 Keep the fuel nozzle in contact with the fill opening to keep static electricity from building up and causing a spark. Don’t overfill your tank! The tank will overflow and the spilled fuel will pose a fire hazard. Once you’ve filled the tank, open up all hatches. On an inboard boat, run the blower for at least 4 minutes to rid the boat of stray vapors. After fueling and running the blower, sniff the engine space before you start the engine. If you can smell gasoline, wait a few more minutes before you start the engine. And be sure to always secure your portable fuel tanks before you leave the dock. NEVER STORE PORTABLE FUEL TANKS IN AN INTERIOR COMPARTMENT! NOTE: Some alcohol blended fuels may accelerate the deterioration of fuel hoses. Some blends make hoses brittle, which may cause cracking, while others can make hoses soft and spongy, which allows vapors to permeate the hose. This happens most often when boats sit for long periods of time. Contact your dealer/manufacturer concerning possible problems regarding alcohol blended gasoline. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is especially true when it comes to your fuel system. With the advent of ethanol blended fuels, boaters are finding one of the unfortunate properties of ethanol is its tendency to attract and absorb water. Ethanol can become water saturated when it sits for long periods and the combined ethanol and water becomes heavier than the gasoline. In other words, the ethanol separates from the gasoline and sinks to the bottom of the tank. This is called phase separation and it’s bad news for the engine, which won’t run on the (watersoaked) ethanol solution. In addition, the separated ethanol is highly corrosive and may damage your fuel tank. So use your boat frequently during the season so that gasoline doesn’t go stale in the tank and don’t leave the boat’s tanks partially filled. If your boat will go unused for long periods over the summer, or will be laid up for the winter with fuel in its tanks, take some precautions–especially if the fuel is an ethanol blend. Add stabilizer to extend the life of the fuel, and top off the tank to 95% full (to 24 Proper Fueling Practices You can greatly reduce the risk of explosion by always following proper fueling practices. Take the following steps whenever you fuel your boat: Moor the boat securely to the dock. Remove all passengers. Extinguish all galley fires including pilot lights Don’t smoke. Shut off engines and electrical equipment. Close all hatches and ports. Fill portable tanks on the dock, not in the boat. Keep fuel nozzle in contact with fill opening. Replace fuel fill cap tightly. Wipe up any spilled fuel. Check bilges for leakage. http://www.boatus.com/magazine/2011/december/ethanol.asp

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of 2013 New York Safe Boating Textbook

2013 New York Safe Boating Textbook
Boats and Motors
Registration of Boats
Fueling and Ventilation
Safe Loading and Powering
Preparation for Getting Underway
The Marine Environment
Rules of the Road
Boat Operations
Personal Watercraft
Boating Related Activities
Accidents and Emergencies
Frequently Asked Questions
Chapter Review Questions Answers

2013 New York Safe Boating Textbook