Two boat explosions in ~ Lake that the Ozarks docks this summer sparked vital discussions around safe refueling and, in particular, the correct use of a boat"s blower.Scott “Sky” Smith, writer of “Ultimate boat Maintenance Projects” and a specialty insurance agent insuring boats, custom vehicles, drones and aircraft nationwide it is registered the listed below column about safe refueling for

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Safe boat refueling isn’t a no-brainer: boaters have actually to consider what’s unseen and take preventative action.

Some boaters don’t give much believed to refueling, but that can lead to basic mistakes through serious after-effects for their personal safety and the boat. Watch the news: it happens every summer. Regularly the cheat is in understanding what’s unseen: fuel vapors.

Years back I walk a stint as a shop teacher. As soon as I taught theory of the auto to high schoolers, I would take a small, clear jar with much less than a cup the gasoline and also slowly to water out just the vapors right into a small bowl.  The college student would constantly make comments around not see anything in the bowl, and I was simply a stunner teacher. Yet after i did the pour, I would light a wood match and also put it in the bowl and, in a bright flash, ignite the “nothingness” they thought wasn’t there.  castle were always surprised, yet it reinforced the the liquid gasoline no the greatest risk: that the vapors indigenous the petrol being moved, poured or jostled.

At the finish of this article, I’ve contained a watercraft Refueling Checklist, but before you skip to that, it’s vital to understand your boat and fuel system. Any inboard gasoline engine will call for a blower mechanism to aid vent those volatile fumes, and also a spark arrestor to mitigate flames in the occasion of a back-fire. Fuel injection and also electronic ignitions have actually helped mitigate the risk, but it is quiet present. Diesel engines execute not have the same risk, but they have actually their own issues. 


That blower device is key… yet it won’t occupational if the opening is clogged! Make certain the open finish of the blower hose in the bilge is clear. That amazing how many boats I have actually seen where the water tap was blocked by leaves, ropes, life jackets, rags…you get the idea. If the blower can’t bring out the fumes, it really doesn’t matter if you usage it. 

Oh and just because you have actually outboard engines doesn’t mean you don’t have actually fuel risks. Any type of fuel system can leak, relax vapors and also cause fires. I think it’s in the owner’s finest interest (and safety) come still take suitable precautions when fueling. 

You require to additionally turn the blowers on (or leaving them on) in between starts when you are using the boat for water sports. Each time friend shut down you hazard fuel build up and also you’ll have people climbing in and also out of the watercraft don’t restart if girlfriend haven’t operation the blower.  

So what can you do?  Follow simply a couple of simple guidelines. The same ones you most likely learned as soon as you began boating.  

So below you walk a basic fueling checklist to aid you safely refuel her boat. Some would certainly seem prefer “common sense” yet we tho forget. Oh, and also if you have any type of ideas permit me know, mine checklists are constantly flexible and also I change them depending upon the boat or instance I to be in. 


Refueling check list 

1. Secure boat to the dock.

2. Shut off the engine(s). 

3. Eliminate all passengers from the boat.

4. Locate your fire extinguisher and make sure it’s operable and also accessible

5. Put out any type of open flames (no smoking and also make certain the BBQ grill ~ above the rail room cold).

6. Nothing use electrical switches while fueling. Some people feel you must shut turn off the stereo and also other electric devices.

7. Determine and also use the proper kind of fuel.

8. Be particular you are putting fuel in fuel tank (not the stop or fresh water or even the pole holder)

9. Constantly fuel slowly and also don’t overfill.

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10. If you have actually a blower, turn it top top at the very least for 4 minutes (some civilization think that’s also long however that’s the recommended time). Some civilization like to open up the engine compartment come release any fumes.