GAS vs DIESEL (Safety)
I apologize for my (earlier) incomplete reply.
, utility, (& etc) of any one component (engine) of a system (ie: propulsion), must be examined within the context of the entire system, and itís environment
Due to the inherent hazards posed by Gasoline, these installations are burdened with (and benefit from) some very stringent standards (beyond those required for diesel systems); including (but not limited to):
- Flame arrestors
- Ignition-Protected Electrical
- Compartmental Separation
Gasoline & Diesel systems are (should be) both designed & installed to be safe in use under most conceivable situations. Murphyís Law is not repealed, merely because weíve adhered to all of the regulations
, standards, and recommended practices regarding our engine
& fuel installation
. Systems, and operating procedures can and do fail, and even our best laid plans often go awry. When enough of the safety features of a gas system fail - BOOM! Under similar circumstances, a diesel failure might more likely be untidy. . I donít believe that the issue is (so much) the LIKELIHOOD of a safety failure, as the it is the CONSEQUENCES ... Diesel fuel, on itís own, is much less volatile than Gasoline - hence inherently and ultimately safer.
It seems obvious that any specific installation must be surveyed for itís adequacy as installed, and operated. It is conceivable that a particular diesel system might be less safe than a particular gasoline system. This scenario would have to compare a properly designed, installed, maintained, and operated gas system against a seriously inadequate diesel alternative.
I think that suggesting that the very stringent specifications required for gasoline installations, and their safe operation creates as safer condition than a (proper) diesel alternative is false - hence Iíll stand by my broad statement - Diesel is SAFER than Gas.
Iíve owned and operated both Gas (OMC Saildrive
, Outboards) & Diesel (Yanmar & Catí inboard) engines, and offer the following recommendations for BOTH:
- Always use ignition protected electrical equipment
within (or proximate to) the engine compartment, and battery box
. Most good marine gear
is so rated (but check).
- Always install & use an Engine Room/Bilge Exhaust
fan, after refueling. Often the engine room also requires ventilation to provide adequate combustion air and for cooling
- Never store any fuel (gas, diesel, propane, etc) in un-vented compartments, nor those open to the accommodations.
- Inspect & maintain your entire propulsion
system regularly. This includes fuel, mechanical, accessory / ancillary gear
, and exhaust
. If using fume detectors, remember that diesel engines generate NO2, as well as the CO that both produce.
This reply remains incomplete - there are a huge number of issues that relate to the proper installation of the several fuel systems used on boats. See ABYC Standards (I could fax a copy to those requesting):
H-2 (Ventilation, Gas), H-24 & 25 (Gas fuel), H-32 (Ventilation, Diesel), H-33 (Diesel fuel), P-1 (Exhaust), P-4 (Engines), TH-23 (CO), A-1 (LPG), A-14 (Fume detection), A-24 (CO Detection)...
Having said all that - Iíd rather have a PROPER gas boat, than none at all!
Respectfully but opinionated,