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Fueling a boat safely - Starting an inboard & outboard motor

Raw fuel is extremely harmful to the environment and the vapours can create a dangerous fire hazard.

Procedure when fueling a boat:

How to fuel a boat?

  • Moor the pleasure craft tightly to the dock to prevent spillage;
  • Turn off the engine;
  • Before refueling, extinguish all on board flames (smoking or cooking flames etc.);
  • All persons not involved must disembark;
  • One must not smoke while refuelling;
  • Turn off all electronic devices such as radios, switches and batteries; one spark caused by a short circuit could produce an explosion;
  • The doors, windows and hatches must be closed. Gasoline fumes are heavier than air, so they could spread to the bottom of the craft and cause an explosion when the engine is started;
  • All portable tanks must be filled off the boat while refuelling, to prevent spillage onto the boat, to protect the environment and to reduce the risk of fire or explosion;  

fueling a boat - portable tank

  • With a fixed tank onboard, make sure to ground the gas nozzle against the filler pipe to ensure safe refuelling of the tank. This will prevent static, as a spark could cause an explosion;
  • Do not overfill the fuel tank. Any overflow could leak through the ventilation or into the water and pollute the environment. You are obligated to immediately clean up any gasoline spilled onto the craft or onto the dock.
  • Discard rags in approved containers;

What should you do prior to starting up the gas-powered inboard motor?

  • Prior to starting up the inboard motor, check for vapour odours. If you have a gaz powered inboard motor, the blower must be operated for a period of at least four (4) minutes. This will enable any dangerous fumes to fully evaporate.

What is the amount of fuel needed for a trip?

A good rule of thumb regarding the amount of fuel needed for a trip is to ration one-third for the trip out, one-third for the return and one-third as reserve. 

Check mechanical condition

You should get in the habit of not only inspecting and checking all the engine components and fluids each and every time you go boating, but also doing periodic maintenance.


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