Video: Fueling Your Boat
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All right, we should probably refuel this thing, huh? I know we have some fuel, but we got to follow the simple rule of thirds. So here, grab this, help me out, and I’ll show you how to refuel it.
Even though we filled up before casting off, there’s a simple rule to follow to keep from getting stranded. We start by conserving fuel by running at no more than 2/3 rather than full throttle. Then we match our fuel in thirds with what we’re doing—one third to get out, one third to get back, one third in reserve for emergencies.
Now there’s a big difference between this kind of power and this kind of power. And the difference is, this paddle is not going to explode into flames and burn your boat into the water. This stuff and its fumes are combustible. So there are a few common sense practices we follow, like these.
Turn off anything that might cause a spark or has open flames. See your manual for examples. Smoking—definitely not. A cigarette can start a fire.
Fumes can settle into low spaces and stay there long after fueling, creating a dangerous situation. So close any openings to keep fumes from entering the boat while you’re fueling. Disconnect and remove portable fuel tanks from the boat, and fill them on the dock. Fuel up during the day when you can clearly see what you’re doing. Night fueling should only be done in an emergency.
And everybody’s got to be off the boat before fueling. And finally, have one of these on hand. Fire extinguisher? You bet. Always keep one handy.
And while we fill up, we keep the nozzle in contact with the tank opening to prevent it from producing a static spark. And we never fill a tank to the top, which helps us avoid spilling fuel into the boat’s bilge or into the water. Plus, it leaves room for the fuel to expand.
Now you might think that once that fuel is in the tank and it’s capped that the danger’s over, right? But remember those invisible fumes? Just because you can’t see them doesn’t mean they aren’t there. So which of the following actions should we take to minimize any lingering fumes?
Multiple choice—reducing fumes. Open all openings on your boat—windows, ports, doors and hatches? Run your bilge exhaust blower for four minutes? Sniff the bilge and engine compartment for fuel vapours? Ventilate until you can’t smell any fuel vapours. Or, all of the above?
You got it. Once you do all those steps, only then can you start your engine and reload your passengers.
The same fueling smarts hold true for personal watercraft, too, whether you fill them up on the water or on a trailer. But there are other points to consider. Personal watercraft take a pounding on the water, so check the fuel system for any leaks. Their tanks are designed to leave space for fuel to expand, and that’s why you don’t tip a personal watercraft to try to fill it up all the way. The same rule about sniffing for fumes applies before you start the engine.
All right, one final thing to consider. Now, we’re out here just having fun on the water. But there’s a lot of things that actually live in the water and need it to survive, and if you spill fuel into the water, they’re not going to do so well. So just take a little care when you’re fueling and everybody’s going to be happy. All right, ready to get back out there?