Table of Contents

Download the PDF Version

Boating Basics

Fueling a Vessel


Never fuel at night unless it is an emergency. If you must refuel after dark, use only electric lights. Try to refuel away from the water or on a commercial fueling ramp.

Before beginning to fuel:

  • Dock the boat securely and ask all passengers to exit.
  • Do not allow anyone to smoke or strike a match.
  • Check all fuel lines, connections, and fuel vents.
  • Turn off anything that might cause a spark—engines, fans, or electrical equipment.
  • Shut off all fuel valves and extinguish all open flames, such as galley stoves and pilot lights.
  • Close all windows, ports, doors, and other openings to prevent fumes from entering the boat.
  • Remove portable fuel tanks and fill them on the dock.

While filling the fuel tank:

  • Keep the nozzle of the fuel-pump hose in contact with the tank opening to prevent producing a static spark.
  • Avoid spilling fuel into the boat’s bilge or the water.
  • Never fill a tank to the brim—leave room to expand.
  • Wipe up any spilled fuel.

The most important safe fueling practice…

If your vessel is equipped with a power ventilation system, always turn it on for at least four minutes after fueling and before starting your engine to remove gas vapors in the bilge.

After fueling:

  • Open all windows, ports, doors, and other openings.
  • Before starting the engine, sniff the bilge and engine compartment for fuel vapors.