My gas story.
When I built my yacht in WA there was no facility nor requirement to have gas installations certified on private vessels. However, I did have a local gas fitter check out everything and ensure that all was as best he could advise. He regularly did boat and caravan installations. He used standard half inch copper piping with rubber supports etc . The stove is not gimballed but the junction is as provided by the stove makers; a flexible rubber hose.
When in Fremantle WA, I met a sailor who had an incident where the gimballed oven
flexible supply hose ruptured while they were making bread (due to the excessive wake of a passing motor
launch). They were standing nearby on a jetty but within minutes the leaking gas must have reached the flame causing the hatches to blow off and start a fire. They saved the boat but much work was needed.
I am aware of a Kimberly charter
operator (under WA rules) who has a small (2 KG) gas bottle inside his yacht adjacent to the stove. It meets the WA requirements which seems a bit weird to me. The apparent justification is that the smaller bottles are not as dangerous. I believe he carries a small pile of these bottles elsewhere on the yacht. Weird.
Years later in Darwin a sailor was blown completely off the aft deck
of his yacht when leaking gas reached the pilot flame on his gas driven refrigerator
. By the time he got back on board a good fire had taken hold but he extinguished it. The furled main and headsails were lost
as well. The boat was ferro
cement so the hull
suffered no damage (fibre glass or wood may have had a different outcome) but the interior
joinery was largely a write off. Recently I saw a caravan that was lost
due to the same problem. It was a complete write off.
In the NT there was and still is no requirement for private vessels to meet any specifications or certification
(private vessels don’t even require registration
, as yet).
In Queensland, the current
circumstances are very different. All private vessels must be registered irrespective of size. The registration papers ask about gas facilities and that falls into two categories. If you have an external (e.g. aft deck) gas barbecue
and no internal gas lines, then no certification
is required. However if there are internal lines or appliances
, then all hell breaks loose.
I sought out a local certifier who turned up and gave my boat a cursory check out. Asked for $100 then signed a slip stating that all was OK. He didn’t request that anything be changed. After about 3 months I took the slip into the boat registry people who told me it was out of date and I needed to redo the certification. I could not find the original chap only to discover that he had died of cancer. Apparently he had been signing off on installations at the rate of a few every day, to cover health
costs! We found a new chap who found fault with just about everything on our boat. We have a diesel
gen.set in the lazarette and he said we could not pass gas lines through an engine
room nor could we run exposed gas lines above the deck
. But our bottles had to be overboard
at the aft (over the transom). Basically it was impossible to meet the requirements! The gas piping would all have to be replaced with lagged pipe. We needed two (solenoid cut out) detectors. One immediately under the gas appliance and another in the bilge. The stove had to be replaced with one with automatic cut offs if the flame failed. (However, I am not sure that auto cut requirements apply to gas ovens or gas grills.) This inspector then suggested that I just state that I didn’t use gas inside the boat! Consequences? Mainly to do with insurance. State registration is about money
gathering. No consequences except you can be fined for not having current registration. Insurance is about you feeding money to a company that has little intention of giving any back or meeting conditions to rent marina space. Thus the screeds of fine/small print.
Get the best information available and be aware that that spiffy plastic European boat going at a bargain price
might require a small fortune to be spent to meet local gas certification requirements. Oh yes, the insurance and state requirements are usually different!
I have a switch with inbuilt flashing red LEDS that allow solenoid selection from either of the two gas bottles – or both OFF. After cooking
, these LEDS are exceptionally annoying and face the saloon
area. The switch and LEDS cost about $10.
The gas cut off solenoids were obtained from a vehicle gas installer and are immediately after the pressure reducers at the bottles. Can’t recall
the price but well under $100 for all the bits I also have installed automatic cut offs with inbuilt meters at both bottles (available everywhere; about $30 each). Best investment ever made. Hope they work!
We did have a bilge gas detector with an audible alarm
but it would go off if the missus used hair spray or insect repellent so it has been disconnected. It also requires testing whenever turned on as the detecting surface needs to be heated to drive off previously absorbed volatile gases.
If you install the lagged gas lines be aware that they have a problem. If there is a leak due to unseen corrosion
or stress cracking, then the gas will migrate between the pipe and lagging and appear only at a break in the lagging making it very difficult to find the source of the leak. I understand that this problem may have caused some regulation changes in WA.