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Old 23-01-2011, 11:09   #1
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Do I Need to Worry About Diesel Fumes ?

Hello all. I have an aft cabin on my boat that I haven't used yet except for storing stuff. But now I would like to use it as a berth. The bed is right above the fuel tank and next to engine. The cabin has 2 opening ports and I DO NOT smell anything in there. So I guess my question is can there be a danger sleeping in there? Can diesel be bad for you even if you don't smell it? Thanks.
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Old 23-01-2011, 11:11   #2
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assuming you are speaking of smelling raw fuel, and not combustion by-products.....

If you can't smell it, it won't hurt you
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Old 23-01-2011, 11:13   #3
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Originally Posted by capngeo View Post
assuming you are speaking of smelling raw fuel, and not combustion by-products.....

If you can't smell it, it won't hurt you
Would by-products mean CO left from running engine? Actually I guess you wouldn't smell CO.
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Old 23-01-2011, 13:05   #4
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Having had a leaking fuel tank, you can DEFINITELY smell diesel.

My berths are above the engines, and I have a diesel heater--I just wasn't comfortable sleeping until I purchased a CO detector.

Two years later I think I am still OK, though some of my friends might argue that point.
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Old 23-01-2011, 13:20   #5
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That's a good idea about the CO detector. I will get one. On a previous boat I had a tank leak and that diesel smell never totally went away. I probably should really clean the engine and engine bed. Any oil fumes would probably not be a good thing.
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Old 23-01-2011, 15:20   #6
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Do I Need to Worry About Diesel Fumes ?
If you can smell them, then YES!

Every fuel system needs to be completely sealed in a boat. Here is an MSDS on diesel fuel: http://www.wilshar.com/Forms/Diesel%20Fuel%20MSDS.pdf

And as and ex-fuel site administrator I can tell you that any fumes in an enclosed space is not good. Gasoline fumes are a killer.

So, if you can not smell the fuel then no worries, but if so, you need to do a clean up and seal.
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Old 23-01-2011, 15:30   #7
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In my experience with having thousands of people over time on a diesel boat, some people are physically sensitive to diesel exhaust but most that complain are just psychologically sensitive thinking they are going to get cancer in a week or pass out. I think we all know the type. None the less, I have a CO sensor in the salon.
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Old 23-01-2011, 16:48   #8
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Diesel engines under normal circumstances make minimal carbon monoxide, much less than gasoline engines. CO poisoning should not be a problem. I've had two boats with the fuel tank under the aft bunk with no problems.
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