Preventing fuel spills in the water while filling your boat up is a very important part of boating safety. Being a responsible boater is important in preventing fuel spills and keeping our waters clean and safe to use. Read more below on how to prevent fuel spills.
We all share the same water, so being a responsible boater is everyone’s job. Here’s one way to do your part.
It’s easier than you think to accidentally turn what should be a routine chore at the fuel dock into a first-class mess. Part of being a sensible, responsible boater is ensuring that fuel tanks are filled correctly and no fuel is spilled into the water, which can have significant consequences for aquatic life.
Filling fuel tanks requires careful procedures. Even if a fuel-fill nozzle has a lock-off device, don’t use it. By the time the nozzle catch has tripped and stopped the flow of fuel, you may have already sent a fair amount of fuel onto the deck and into the water. This malady is most often caused by “burping,” which is the result of air trapped in the tank or the boat’s fill hose. It escapes through the fuel fill, bringing fuel with it.
The Clean Way Fuel Fill is an example of a product that helps avoid fuel spills at the pump. In the event of fuel burping back through the filler, excess fuel is directed upward into the device, where downward sloping baffles lead overflowing fuel back into the tank.
Another method is to wrap an oil absorbent pad or heavy absorbent sock around the fuel fill nozzle to catch any blowback or errant spills. And always keep ample oil-absorbent pads within quick reach should something go wrong. An internet search will reveal various products to help prevent spills, but always look for testing reviews and do some testing yourself to be sure that any product does as advertised in your situation.
Fuel In The Bilge
Not all oil pollution occurs while filling the boat with fuel. Bilge water often contains oil, grease, and fuel. To prevent this oily water from being pumped out of the boat by the bilge pump, consider placing oil-absorbent sheets under inboard engines. A couple of oil absorbent bilge socks or sausages in the lowest part of the bilge close to the bilge pump pickup (but not interfering with the pickup or switch) will go a long way to preventing dirty bilge water from polluting waterways.
At least once a year, check all fuel hoses for cracks and loose connections that may cause leaks, replacing any that may be suspect. ABYC standards stipulate that all fuel fill hoses should be double-clamped, so ensure that all hose clamps are in place and well tightened.
In sum, preventing spills is up to all of us. Using a little common sense and some basic preventive measures, we can keep our waterways clean for all. But no matter which “devices” or techniques you use, “CAUTION” is always in order. With fuel, oil or grease, it doesn’t take much on a boat for something to go wrong causing a sheen on the surface.