Take care before and after fueling


By Gene Clark

An older U.S. Coast Guard safety pamphlet indicated that “a cup of gasoline spilled in the bilge has the potential explosive power of 15 sticks of dynamite.” With that in mind, let’s review safe fueling recommendations.

Before fueling

  • Take portable tanks off the vessel.
  • Close hatches and other openings.
  • Extinguish smoking materials.
  • Turn off engines, electrical equipment, radios, stoves and other appliances.
  • Remove all passengers.
  • Keep the fill nozzle in contact with the tank and wipe up spilled fuel.

After fueling

  • Open ports, hatches and doors to ventilate.
  • Run the blower for at least four minutes, and check the bilge for fuel vapors before starting the engine.
  • Do a “sniff test” to make sure there is no gasoline odor anywhere on the boat.
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The Ensign magazine is an official channel of United States Power Squadrons, America’s Boating Club, a volunteer organization whose members teach boating skills and best practices to help improve the safety of our nation’s waterways. Learn more.