So, it’s time to fuel your boat. It sounds simple enough — sidle on up to the gas pump, open the fuel tank and fill ‘er up. But fueling a boat isn’t as mindless as fueling a car. For starters, boats have many openings and if you aren’t paying attention, you could end up mistaking water or waste valve for the gas tank. Unlike cars, boats have many cracks and crevices where spilled gas and vapors can accumulate, potentially causing an explosion. Follow these tips to avoid disaster.
Who’s in charge? If it’s you and you’ll be filling the tank, let everyone know. Too many cooks and your boat could turn into a flambé. Once at the gas dock, all crew and passengers should disembark.
Give your boat a check-up. Salt water is corrosive and can cause leaks. Make sure to inspect hose lines, engine fittings and strainers for wear-and-tear. If you spot a leak, patch it.
Decide how much fuel you’ll need and find the gas fill. Make sure it’s really the gas fill! Take some precautions to safeguard against static electrical sparks and gas spills.
Now that you’ve filled your tank, make sure the boat is free of all gas fumes and vapors.
Congratulations. You have fueled your boat and steered clear of crisis. Just make sure you didn’t leave any oil or fuel behind — that would be a federal crime. Fair winds!