Please select your home edition
Edition
C-Tech Emirates

Seven Golden Rules for Fuel Dock Safety

by John Jamieson on 12 May 2012
Fuel dock - smiling, but statistically their danger is increased SW
Dock your boat at a fuel dock and you will engage in one of boating's more dangerous, but necessary activities. Fuel fires and galley fires continue to top the 'most dangerous' list of emergencies.

After all, if a fire breaks out when fueling, your boat and all other boats in the marina could be exposed to a literal 'lethal weapon'. Follow these seven steps each and every time you fuel your boat.

Before you begin, make sure you go over the fueling evolution with your crew or sailing partner and break out these essential tools for safety first:

* Absorbent pads or cotton cloth baby diapers
* Clean Rags
* Fuel Fill Cap Key
* Portable Fire Extinguisher (out of brackets and on deck)

1. Button Up Your Boat to Keep Vapours Out

Close all hatches, ports and vents. This keeps fuel vapours outside of the boat and prevents vapour accumulation in the bilge area. Run mechanical blowers (if equipped) for at least five minutes to clear the engine space of fumes.

2. Keep a Fire Extinguisher Ready on Deck

Remove a fire extinguisher from the bulkhead mounting brackets. Place it in a horizontal position onto the deck outside in the cockpit area. This position will prevent the extinguisher from falling over in case of boat wakes that rock the boat. Now you have an extinguisher near the fueling operation, ready to use in an instant.

3. Cover the Downhill Scupper Drains

Use a few rags, pads, or diapers to block off cockpit scuppers or drains in case you get fuel overflow or the fuel splashes or spills on deck. The fuel will flow with gravity along the deck to drains or scuppers. Block off the scuppers to keep fuel on the boat and out of the waters of the harbor.

4. Keep Contact between Nozzle and Fill

Wrap a rag around the nozzle or fuel fill opening before you insert the nozzle. This will help catch fuel drips or spills. Insert the nozzle and maintain contact with the fuel fill opening. This will prevent the possibility of a spark from static electricity.

5. Keep an Eye on the Fuel Gauge

Realize that some tanks are shaped somewhat like a 'V'--narrower near the bottom and wider near the top. That means that when you begin to fuel, the gauge could show a rapid fill. Then, about halfway up to the top of the tank, the fuel gauge will slow to a crawl. This can catch you by surprise and the tank could overfill. Slow down when your gauge reads 'half full'. Ask your crew or partner to hold a diaper just beneath the fuel vent in case of overflow. Fill up the tank to about 90% capacity. This allows a bit of space inside the tank for expansion.

6. Tighten the Fill Cap

Turn the fill cap over and check the gasket. Replace the gasket if it’s cracked. Otherwise, water can intrude into your tank and cause havoc with your engine. Tighten the cap onto the fuel fill opening for a positive seal to keep moisture, rain water, and sea spray out. Check all along the deck for drips and spills and wipe it up right away with your rags, absorbent pads, or diapers. Also, check on both sides of the hull for a sheen in the water, in particular on the same side as the fuel vent.

7. Ventilate Before You Start the Engine!

Open up all hatches, ports, and vents for at least five minutes to get rid of any fuel vapors present below decks. Run the blowers (if equipped) in the engine space for five minutes. No matter how busy the fuel dock may be--even with boats waiting to come alongside--make sure to do this final step to prevent explosion. Take five and stay alive!

John Jamieson (Captain John) shows you the no-nonsense cruising skills you need beyond sailing school at www.skippertips.com.
RS Sailing 660x82Mackay BoatsC-Tech Emirates TNZ

Related Articles

Int Moth Worlds - Zhik returns to its spiritual home at 2017 Worlds
Zhik is returning to its roots as the official clothing sponsor of the 2017 McDougall McConaghy Moth World Championships Zhik, the innovative sailing apparel specialist, is returning to its roots as the official clothing sponsor of the 2017 McDougall McConaghy Moth World Championships. And, ten years on, the Moths are returning to their spiritual home on Lake Garda. Zhik and the International Moth class are virtually synonymous with each other.
Posted on 20 Jul
Cheeki Rafiki - Douglas Innes to face retrial over manslaughter
Douglas Innes to face retrial over manslaughter The Director of Stormforce Coaching, the company that ran Cheeki Rafiki, is set to face retrial for manslaughter over the deaths of the four crew. They were 700nm from Nova Scotia, returning to Southampton after racing in Antigua when the keel feel off. It is said that previous groundings had weakened the keel bolts....
Posted on 17 Jul
Rytov continues to defend lead at 2017 Melges 20 European Championship
On the eve of final day at Melges 20 European Championship Russia's Igor Rytov & his Russian Bogatyrs remains in command On the eve of the final day at the 2017 Melges 20 European Championship, Russia's Igor Rytov and his Russian Bogatyrs remains in command. Thanks to a very consistent performance thus far, they are inching ever closer to capturing the top European title and trophy.
Posted on 15 Jul
Get better wave forecasts from PredictWind and ECMWF
Predictwind is well-known for accurate wind forecasts but now leads the way with accurate wave forecasts PredictWind is well known for its world leading accurate wind forecasts, but did you know Predictwind also leads the way with accurate wave forecasts?
Posted on 12 Jul
Centennial Transat builds bridge to a flying future
The Queen Mary 2 won its battle with the four 30-meter trimarans, as expected, in upwind conditions for the sailboats The race was timed to mark a hundred years since American troops arrived on the shores of France in WW1, and it also brought together all of the fastest Ultimate trimarans for the first time as the class begins to take flight.
Posted on 7 Jul
X-Yachts announce the new X49 as the latest member of the 'X' range
In 2016, X-Yachts launched the new pure ‘X’ range which included the X4³ and the X65.  In 2016, X-Yachts launched the new pure ‘X’ range, which included the X43 and the X65. This range was exceptionally well received by both press and clients, with more than 50 yachts sold in the first year. The ‘X’ range incorporates the best elements from both the Xcruising range and the Xperformance range into one beautifully designed performance cruiser
Posted on 6 Jul
Sailors for the Sea named an Environmental Innovator of the Year
Green Sports Alliance presented annual Environmental Leadership Award and Environmental Innovators of the Year Awards The Green Sports Alliance presented their annual Environmental Leadership Award and Environmental Innovators of the Year Awards, the highlight of their annual Green Sports Celebration on Wednesday, June 28th at the Green Sports Alliance Summit in Sacramento, CA.
Posted on 5 Jul
Figaro Bénéteau 3 – The home straight
The prototype will be launched for the Figaro Bénéteau 3, whose construction is entering its completion phase All the pieces of the puzzle that make up the 9.75-metre monohull designed by the VPLP design office are en route for the yard, as orchestrated by Marc Vaillier, head of the programme within the Groupe Bénéteau.
Posted on 4 Jul
The Bridge – Colville nurses boat and crewman to third place finish
Arriving in New York on Independence Day will be some consolation for finishing lower on the podium than Colville wanted Sodebo Ultim’ finished five hours nine minutes and 52 seconds after second-placed IDEC Sport and 15 hours 47 minutes and 35 seconds after the winner Macif.
Posted on 4 Jul
The Bridge – Francis takes second but not passing the flame on yet
Joyon and his crew of Alex Pella, Gwénolé Gahinet, Sébastien Picault and Quentin Ponroy exchanged the lead with Macif IDEC Sport remained in the hunt, 30-50 miles behind, and Joyon used all his nous to make it quickly through transition zones and keep a boat 10 years older and several tonnes heavier in contention.
Posted on 4 Jul