Chapter 3 X Vessel Operation
FUELING Always use extreme caution when fueling a boat. Gasoline vapors are more explosive than dynamite and they’re heavier than air. The vapors may sink to the bottom of the boat or collect in the bilge. These vapors may explode when exposed to a spark or open flame. Safe Fueling Tips For Fire Prevention Always remove portable tanks from the boat for refueling. Shut off motors that can make a spark or generate heat. Turn off electrical equipment and liquid propane tanks. Close all ports, hatches, and openings before fueling. This prevents vapors from seeping into the boat and settling in the bilge. Try to fuel before night. If you need a light to refuel, use a flashlight or a spark-proof light. Never smoke while fueling or when you’re close to a fuel dock. When fueling, place the fuel nozzle in contact with the fill pipe or tank. This prevents a buildup of static electricity which could produce a spark. Maintain the contact between the fuel nozzle and the fill pipe or tank until fueling is completed. Always use an oil absorbent, fuel donut or fuel bib around the deck filler (available at some marinas and marine supply stores) to catch spills and overflow. Be sure to properly dispose of fuel-soaked absorbents as hazard ous waste at your County Household Hazardous Waste Collection Center. Before starting the engine, you must draw or force gasoline vapors out of low pockets in the bilge. Open all doors, windows, ports and hatches. If you use fans to circulate the air in the cabins and bilges, use only explosion proof fans with spark-proof switches. To clear the air in the bilge properly, turn on the power blower for at least four minutes. Check all fuel lines and connections for leaks. Sniff around gas lines, motor, and bilges. Do not start the motor until the vapors are gone. Prevent water pollution by being careful with oil and fuel near the water. Even a small amount spilled into the water can pollute a large area. If a spill occurs, do not apply detergents or soaps, it is illegal!
A HELPFUL HINT
Your nose is the best tool for finding gasoline vapors and preventing an explosion. Every time before you start your engine, operate your blower for at least four minutes, and then smell for fumes.
WEBSITE For more information about clean and safe fueling, visit BoatingCleanAndGreen.com
California Course for Safe Boating
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