Fueling Safety

It is common for vessels to call for assistance when they have trouble with their motors or run out of fuel. Whenever possible, boat operators should ensure that they have an adequate supply of oil and fuel on board for the trip they plan to take.

It is good to follow the rule of thirds when planning fuel. Boaters should use one-third of their fuel on the way out, one-third on the way back, and one-third for emergencies.

Fueling can be dangerous if it is not done correctly. In some cases, gasoline vapors can explode, causing injuries or even death. Fuel leaks most commonly cause boat fires and explosions. Following safe fueling procedures are essential to reducing the risk of an explosion.

Here is a list of these procedures:  

  • Prevent spills by mooring the boat securely.
  • Ground the nozzle against the filler pipe.
  • Keeping the boat’s tank full and not overfilling it – boaters must prevent fuel spills and leaks into the water and hull.
  • Wipe up spills and throw away used absorbents
  • Before refueling, close all hatches and other openings.
  • Make sure all the electrical stuff, radios, and engines are off.
  • Remove all passengers from the vessel.
  • Putting out any smoking materials
  • Bringing any portable tanks ashore for refueling

A blower should be operated for at least four minutes after fueling the vessel. All ports, hatches, and doors should be opened for ventilation after fueling. It is recommended that you conduct a “sniff test” on the boat to determine whether it has an odor of gasoline.



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