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Old 16-12-2017, 23:39   #1
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adding a permanent below decks gasoline tank?

hey guys we are thinking of adding a 50 gallon permanent below decks gasoline tank to our sailboat. we will be doing long exploration voyages and are planning to be away from fuel for a while. we are looking at a Moeller Marine 50 gallon below decks tank with a filler and vent that would lead above decks.

what are your thoughts?

it will be in a compartment that is behind a water tight bulkhead and away from the living quarters.
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Old 17-12-2017, 00:11   #2
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Re: adding a permanent below decks gasoline tank?

You're ex Navy so you will know the risks, but I have to ask why so much petrol? Diesel or Kero I can understand but petrol?

Be interesting to know if petrol vapour sets off a gas alarm.

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Old 17-12-2017, 01:22   #3
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Re: adding a permanent below decks gasoline tank?

Sounds like a gasoline outboard is your main engine . If you have an atomic you should already have plenty of fuel capacity. 50 gallons is a lot of weight to add especially if not designed to be there. But it should be doable just need to know what boat you have. Also remember to add the explosion proof bilge blower.
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Old 17-12-2017, 01:42   #4
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Re: adding a permanent below decks gasoline tank?

Sounds like dinghy fuel to me.

I've had gasoline on several cruising cats. I've also working in and designed refineries. Fortunately, they are able to hold gasoline on the bridge deck, in fuel holds that are gas tight, ventilated out the bottom, and contain no electrical equipment. On a boat, as a minimum, I'd want to make certain the bulkhead was not just liquid tight but also gas tight. That means no penetrations clear to the deck. Second, the compartment must be ventilated from the bottom and top. Finally, no electrical connections, machinery, or lighting, or even the backs of deck lights. Nothing other then the tanks sending unit.

According to the National Electrical code for shore installations, as soon as you put a gasoline tank in a closed space, the entire space, in this case including the hull up to the deck, is a classified space that requires explosion proof equipment. For example, if you put a 50 gallon tank in a dike behind your shop, the space inside the dike, up to the lip of the dike and within 10 feet of the tank, is classified. And of course, if the tanks is in a building, the vent must go through the roof. All in all, this is a tough standard to meet in a boat.

And I've seen the explosions, in refineries and one at the fuel dock.

It can be done, but you need to take it very, very seriously. Buy a copy of the relevant codes, remembering that these codes are not written by the government, they are written by the industries to reduce their losses. I've served on code committees.

A smaller tank, that could be above the water line in dedicated sub compartment, like a propane locker, is a better bet. Think propane locker; they have much in common.
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Old 17-12-2017, 02:30   #5
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Re: adding a permanent below decks gasoline tank?

Check out the rules for gas power-boat installations and follow those and you should be fine just make sure to continue to follow the rules and maintain it properly.

It is a good idea to consider the weight distribution also.

If it's a catamaran, try to put it on the bridge deck where you can bottom vent it.
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Old 17-12-2017, 03:11   #6
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Re: adding a permanent below decks gasoline tank?

Unless it has internal baffles, I'd be really afraid of putting a tank that big belowdecks (or anywhere) on a sailboat. A half-empty 20-gal water tank did some serious shaking of a 27-foot sailboat I was on during a lumpy night at sea. I can only imagine what a half-full 50-gal tank will do in a seaway.
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Old 17-12-2017, 03:48   #7
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Re: adding a permanent below decks gasoline tank?

There are many sailboats with gas powered inboard engines and internal gas tanks. Have a look at gas tank installations of Atomic 4 powered sailboats. It's not rocket science but you have to consider all contingencies.
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Old 17-12-2017, 04:43   #8
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Re: adding a permanent below decks gasoline tank?

ABYC H-24 / 46CFR 182.455c GASOLINE FUEL SYSTEMS (see 24.10 etc) ➥ https://law.resource.org/pub/us/cfr/....H-24.1993.pdf
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Old 17-12-2017, 07:06   #9
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Re: adding a permanent below decks gasoline tank?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Enginerd View Post
hey guys we are thinking of adding a 50 gallon permanent below decks gasoline tank to our sailboat. we will be doing long exploration voyages and are planning to be away from fuel for a while. we are looking at a Moeller Marine 50 gallon below decks tank with a filler and vent that would lead above decks.

what are your thoughts?

it will be in a compartment that is behind a water tight bulkhead and away from the living quarters.
Thoughts ? Only if fume detection was incorporated. Another thought would be weight distribution.


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Old 17-12-2017, 07:29   #10
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Re: adding a permanent below decks gasoline tank?

We do extended out island cruising and also wanted to get rid of the jerry-jug gasoline issue on our trawler.

We thought about having a below deck tank fabricated, but could not decide on what type of pump arrangement we wanted.

Our solution was to purchase a roto-molded 50 gallon gasoline tank and mount it on deck by lashing it to the deck stanchions. We use a bronze pipe nipple and cap for the fill and supply fuel directly to the dinks with a gravity siphon hose made of 3/8in vinyl hose with a ball valve shut off. The final part was a sunbrella cover for the tank.

This tank has a much smaller footprint than the multiple jugs we previously carried. Fueling the dink is easier.
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Old 17-12-2017, 07:47   #11
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Re: adding a permanent below decks gasoline tank?

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All in all, this is a tough standard to meet in a boat.
ThinWater,

You DO realize that there are a huge number of gasoline powered boats, right? I would guess there are actually more of them than diesel powered.

USCG and ABYC have clear standards for what's needed. Follow the rules, take care of things and it's fine.

If things go wrong, they go very wrong... I have seen a boat blow up. But if care is taken it's safe.
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Old 17-12-2017, 08:38   #12
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Re: adding a permanent below decks gasoline tank?

Lots of good comments and clearly you are not going to be the first boat to do this safely.

I am going to assume the gasoline is for outboard use.

We have done a fair bit of remote sailing and the first observation is that for both outboard and diesel it was not possible to bring the boat alongside a fuel dock very often. Everything came aboard in jerry jugs.

I don't like double handling of fuel.

I would be tempted to have some neat stainless brackets fabricated to hold 4 or 6 outboard tanks at the stern. I saw a great arrangement a few years back that allowed the loading or unloading of these tanks on to the rack on the boat from a dinghy.

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Old 17-12-2017, 09:06   #13
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Re: adding a permanent below decks gasoline tank?

[QUOTE=Moeller Marine 50 gallon below decks tank with a filler and vent that would lead above decks. what are your thoughts? it will be in a compartment that is behind a water tight bulkhead and away from the living quarters.[/QUOTE]

I have refitted three boats with no problems at all. The problem that I wanted to make sure was to have the tank secured properly. I did so with spray in foam at the corners and anywhere there would be close to something. To prevent chaffing I added foam. A blower is a must and the ground should be back to your common ground of the vessel. All gasoline approved hoses and double clamp all fittings. Vent over the side and filler on deck and voila! Safe voyages...
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Old 17-12-2017, 10:31   #14
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Re: adding a permanent below decks gasoline tank?

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Originally Posted by Pizzazz View Post
There are many sailboats with gas powered inboard engines and internal gas tanks. Have a look at gas tank installations of Atomic 4 powered sailboats. It's not rocket science but you have to consider all contingencies.
I can't think of a single Atomic 4 installation I've seen with greater than, say, 15 gallons of gas in a vented locker. In fact, I reduced my own 12 Imperial (larger) gallon Monel tank to a 10 gallon (U.S.) Tempo (plastic) tank to gain space and the likelihood I would refuel more than once every couple of years.

Fifty (I presume U.S) gallons strikes me as a lot of gasoline to stow. My steel sailboat has two 50-gallon diesel keel tanks and a 10 gallon "daytank". That's about 1,100 NM of econo-cruising range.
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Old 17-12-2017, 10:34   #15
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Re: adding a permanent below decks gasoline tank?

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Originally Posted by billknny View Post
ThinWater,

You DO realize that there are a huge number of gasoline powered boats, right? I would guess there are actually more of them than diesel powered.

USCG and ABYC have clear standards for what's needed. Follow the rules, take care of things and it's fine.

If things go wrong, they go very wrong... I have seen a boat blow up. But if care is taken it's safe.

Yes, I am a chemical engineer, 30-year boater, and understand this very well.

I've also seen one blow up. I didn't read about, I saw it happen from my slip. Shook the windows pretty well. An initial "pop" got us looking the correct direction, and then there was a bang. My wife asked if she should run, but given the distance I reasoned we were safer from flying debris in the cabin.

The fault was not substandard design but age.

Thus, the standard is marginally adequate. However, there is a marine standard and you can build to it.
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