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Old 13-08-2011, 13:52   #1
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On-Deck Gasoline Placement

I currently have two 5 gallon cans of gasoline on the cabin top strapped to the mast. It seems like the perfect location, since I don't have space to build a locker for them, and I'd like to keep my side decks as clear as possible. But everytime there's a thunderstorm, I get a little worried These are basic red can types from a hardware store. So the question is, is the plastic enough insulation to prevent a lightning strike (at the mast) from igniting the fuel? Or should I immediately relocate these cans? (there's a t-storm approaching as I type this!) The only other place I can see fitting them is forward between the pulpit and first stancion. I could fit a board there and strap them on, without limmiting my ability to work on deck. But then they'll cause windage and add extra (and offset) weight in the bow... What say ye?
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Old 13-08-2011, 14:02   #2
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Re: on-deck gasoline placement

Have you got a dinghy? you could launch that and put them in that if it worried you.

Longer term? how about fitting a swim platform to the stern and put them on that. The other problem with having them at the mast is that petrol fumes are heavier than air so will sink downwards.

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Old 13-08-2011, 14:05   #3
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Re: on-deck gasoline placement

So if you put them below, say strapped to your berth, and you get hit by lightning will you feel less or more immolated?

Crispy fired each way I think!

Perhpas put them down the back, on deck, far as possible away from you. But then if they blow up the companionway will be blocked by the flames. So you will die below wondering where you should have put them.




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Old 13-08-2011, 14:28   #4
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I sleep on top of a 25 gallon gasoline tank, that's not what worries me, thanks. The question is regarding the proximity of thecans to the mast (actually touching the mast), not their proximity to me...
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Old 13-08-2011, 15:03   #5
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Re: On-Deck Gasoline Placement

I can't think why lightning would effect them; non-conductive. The greater hazard is blocking visibility; mundane, but a collision is the more probable risk.

Side desk are the conventional wisdom for good reasons. Not pleasant, but the lesser evil. A lashing board helps.

My boat is a cat with the center cockpit, so our solution may not apply:
* 2 cans ( 1 gallon and 5 gallon) sit in the fuel locker, which is on the bridge deck and is sealed and drained like a propane locker.
* 2 cans sit in the push-pit corners, where they are secure and nicely out of the way. The fumes would go overboard, not into the cockpit, which is higher.

I don't generally carry extra (just a 1-gallon for the tender), but when we do, those are the spots.
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Old 13-08-2011, 15:03   #6
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Re: On-Deck Gasoline Placement

I keep a plastic gas tank for my dinghy fuel secured to a stanchion at my transom in a manner that would allow any leakage to fall off and aft. As these tanks will swell with pressure when securely closed during rising tremperatures, I try to release it's pressure at the day's high temperature. I would treat these tanks in the same manner that I would find approved stowage for propane tanks. For me, this is in the dinghy on davits or secured in a location for fumes or leakage to drain overboard.
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Old 13-08-2011, 15:19   #7
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Re: On-Deck Gasoline Placement

The much more likely scenario is a leak over a lightning strike. As already mentioned, wherever you place the tank you want it to be able to drain overboard in the shortest path possible. If lightning can arc through miles of sky, it can go through a thin piece of plastic. So I think it is kind of pointless to try to figure out where lightning might not strike the can. Just put it somewhere so that if this happens it will drain overboard.
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Old 13-08-2011, 15:40   #8
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Thanks.

I'm not at all worried about storing the fuel on deck, or lightning directly striking the cans... Just slightly concerned about the plastic being non-conductive enough to be placed against the mast (which is grounded directly to the keel) in the not-so-unlikely event, lightning ever hits the mast.

I do think air is generally considered conductive, but plastic is not supposed to be. But the thinness of the material vs. The current of a strike is the question in my non-electrician mind.

They do pose a bit of a visibility problem, but probably no worse than my dodger however I wouldn't mind getting them out of the way anyway.

as to the leakage issue, are the better cans less likely to swell and wear out the seams? Or is this an issue with all plastic cans?
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Old 13-08-2011, 16:14   #9
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Re: On-Deck Gasoline Placement

Quote:
Originally Posted by callmecrazy View Post
.........as to the leakage issue, are the better cans less likely to swell and wear out the seams? Or is this an issue with all plastic cans?
These plastic tanks tend to become brittle with age and UV damage. It might be a wise choice to replace them once every two years or so or to keep a cover over them.
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Old 13-08-2011, 16:18   #10
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Re: On-Deck Gasoline Placement

my jerry jugs have lasted in sandy ago kali for over 5 yrs in sun. no cracks and no leaks as yet.
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