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Dave B
06-24-2014, 11:12 PM
I'm to the point on my latest build (Tolman 21' Widebody center console) that I'm thinking and working on the interior layout. I'm using a belly tank for fuel and the fill will run forward towards the starboard side at the bow. The question arises about exactly where to place the fill - out at the gunnel where any spill will go overboard, or inside the boat where any potential spill ends up inside.

I'm not sure there's a "right" answer, but I thought I'd post the question and see what the collective wisdom had to say.

I've researched the ABYC Standards, USCG Boatbuilders Handbook (for commercial builders) and the USCG Backyard Builders Handbook. According to the ABYC and commercial regs, the fill as I read it must be situated so that any potential fuel spill ends up going overboard and not into the boat - at least as far as inboard and sterndrive boats go. As far as I can find, their regs/standards don't address outboards (which my Tolman will be). The Backyard Builders Handbook is pretty sparse and is totally silent about this.

So here's the dilemma. It makes sense that you wouldn't want gasoline inside where even with an outboard there might be the possibility of combustion. On the other hand, we don't want even the tiniest amount of gas going overboard and into the water. I don't want to contribute to the pollution of the environment and regardless we are threatened with major fines if we do.

To me the reality is that it's very unlikely that I would ever have any kind of major fuel spill while fueling. The hose is never left unattended and is watched closely. We all know, however that "stuff" happens and it's easy to spill a small amount. And that small amount looks HUGE out on the water. That same small amount would be much easier to contain and clean up inside the boat.

I could really be talked into going either way. Simply due to the design it would be easiest to build the fill to be inside, but I could with a little more effort place it up on the gunnel. The safest route from a fire and insurance/survey standpoint may be to keep it on the gunnel. Once built one way, however, it would not be fun to change it out to the other.

Thoughts?

MiddleAgesMan
06-24-2014, 11:22 PM
Outside, near the gunwale. You'll be pumping straight gasoline which will have very little impact on the environment ('cause it evaporates quickly) but could have devastating impact on safety (if spilled inside the boat).

Don Z.
06-24-2014, 11:27 PM
I think that inside the boat is dangerous, while a spill can be contained and collected via the pads/sponges/booms they make to contain and collect spills...

Rich Jones
06-25-2014, 06:33 AM
I've never seen a fill located anywhere but on the gunwale. There's got to be a good reason for that. If you spill a teaspoon or so in the water, quickly move the boat and act as non-guilty as you can!

John Boone
06-25-2014, 07:35 AM
Morning Dave,

Your fuel fill shouldn't be inside the boat. Put it in the gunwale and use one of the fuel spill pads around it when you fill up. Just cut a small hole large enough to fit around the fuel fill. Small spills get easily caught that way.

You will need to decide about what type of fuel fill you want to use. I'm familiar with two types. An unvented fill that requires a separate vent fixture also vented to the exterior of the boat or a combination fuel fill/vent fixture.

I used this Perko fixture (http://www.amazon.com/Perko-0541DPGCHR-Chrome-Straight-Vented/dp/B0000AZ3OJ/ref=sr_1_16/185-3546541-5363354?ie=UTF8&qid=1403698743&sr=8-16&keywords=perko+fuel+vent) in the small outboard we built. The build thread for that boat is

here http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthread.php?156154-Building-a-Luzier-16-Outboard-Skiff-designed-by-George-Luzier-Sarasota-Florida&highlight=Luzier+16

Photos of the installation of the internal aluminum tank, hoses and deck fill start about post # 97.

On one of my other boats that used a separate fuel vent fitting from the fuel fill, I carried one of these NoSpill Recovery System (http://www.amazon.com/No-Spill-NoSpill-Fuel-Recovery-System/dp/B00AJV2UNA/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1403699573&sr=8-2&keywords=fuel+spill+prevention) bottles while fueling to catch any fuel that spurted out of the vent line.

Also, always take care not to overfill your tank.The fuel expands as it warms. We had a local boater here fill his tank to the top of his fill hose in the morning and when the heat of the day came his boat was spewing fuel out the side vent. This can happen with either type I mentioned above.

Best of luck with the build.

John

Jbtate3
06-26-2014, 06:38 AM
Also, always take care not to overfill your tank.The fuel expands as it warms. We had a local boater here fill his tank to the top of his fill hose in the morning and when the heat of the day came his boat was spewing fuel out the side vent. This can happen with either type I mentioned above.


... And this may be the best reason to put it on the gunwale and make sure it seeps overboard. Safety first.

Bob Cleek
06-26-2014, 12:47 PM
Everything you ever wanted to know about your fuel tank installation. https://law.resource.org/pub/us/cfr/ibr/001/abyc.H-24.1993.pdf The ABYC regulations are pretty much mandatory if you ever want to buy insurance on the boat. It's my recollection that the regulations require that fuel fill ports must be external to the interior of the boat and located at least a foot or two (I don't remember the exact distance) from any hatch or ventilator opening that would permit fumes to enter below. These are the regs. Knock yourself out.

Spokaloo
06-26-2014, 03:19 PM
Other tidbits:

If you spill inside the boat, a slippery residue can remain, causing the area around the fill to be slippy.

Filling from a dock into a moving boat is MUCH easier than standing in a moving boat trying to fill.

Overfilling is essentially impossible on side fills, but your venting may cause havoc if the fill is inside the boat.

I have a small portable tank in the LYS, and that even gets taken out and set on the dock or the ground for filling.

E

Scott in WV
06-26-2014, 03:27 PM
A few drops of gasoline spilt into the water, the fumes and debris from a boat burning to the water line. I'd say the first is much easier on the environment.

Scott

Mad Scientist
06-27-2014, 06:21 PM
Other tidbits:...

...I have a small portable tank in the LYS, and that even gets taken out and set on the dock or the ground for filling...

A legal requirement, under Canadian regs, and the safest way to go no matter where you live :-)

Tom

Dave B
06-27-2014, 11:36 PM
I've been gone on a family outing where there was spotty internet coverage, but I haven't been ignoring the replies to my query. Thank you for all the comments and it appears that there is no good reason to do anything but make sure the fill is to the outside, so that's the direction I'll head. Strangely enough, just a couple of days ago I saw a photo of a friend's brand new, commercially manufactured, aluminum fishing guide boat. I noticed that his gas fill was sitting right on the gunwale and it was situated so that any spill would end up inside. I don't know how they got away with that!