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Old 02-01-2013, 10:52   #1
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Water Tank Used for Fuel

If my fuel tank is plastic and my water tanks are plastic, can I use one to hold extra fuel and install a watermaker?
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Old 02-01-2013, 11:02   #2
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Re: water tank used for fuel

If it's the right kind of plastic you could. Most water tanks draw from the bottom though and fuel tanks draw from the top. Drawing from the bottom on fuel tanks is a No-No.
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Old 02-01-2013, 11:14   #3
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Re: water tank used for fuel

I know of a 393 owner who converted the aft water tank to a fuel tank.
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Old 02-01-2013, 13:31   #4
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Re: water tank used for fuel

I wouldn't, but you probably could. See Cheechako's post. Maybe better to keep both water tanks, and just add a fuel tank or two, if you want more range. A water maker is nice, but even nicer to have enough tankage that if the watermaker stops cooperating, you still got plenty. And should you ever want to sell the boat, a potential buyer might call that a black mark against the boat, having half the water capacity of a stock model.

Some sailboats don't even HAVE a fuel tank, or an engine. So obviously, fuel capacity is an option. Water isn't optional, IMHO. It is too important to be at the mercy of an expensive gizmo that ought to work as advertised, but might not. My opinoin only, and no disrespect intended if you feel opposite.
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Old 02-01-2013, 14:00   #5
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Re: water tank used for fuel

If you use a watermaker you still have to put the water it makes somewhere.....so you still will need a water tank.
Edit :
Just re read and I see you have two water tanks. I still would not use one for fuel. You can get bladder tanks for extra fuel.
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Old 02-01-2013, 14:05   #6
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Re: water tank used for fuel

Depends on where you are going cruising I suppose. Bahamas/Caribe? I like the idea of not carrying all that water around with a water maker. Worst case scenario is you have to get water ashore like a lot of people until it's fixed. Depends on the watermaker output too I 'spose. If you are sailing RTW and in remote places for lengths of time... then more water is good.... as well as fuel!
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Old 02-01-2013, 14:12   #7
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Re: water tank used for fuel

Quote:
Originally Posted by kenandsherbliss View Post
If my fuel tank is plastic and my water tanks are plastic, can I use one to hold extra fuel and install a watermaker?
I plan to do this in the long run. I feel the extra 50 gal of fuel will be more useful than another 50 gal of water (I still would have 100 gal of water it isn't like I'm suddenly going to die of thirst).

Just check that the plastic is OK for the use and the fitting locations as others noted. But you can get a new 50 gal fuel tank for under $300 so as long as it is a standard shape and you can get to it without cutting the boat in half just replace it (small price in the big picture).

PS - I know I've read this question here on CF before and even with a "how it worked" response, so maybe search is worth it for you.
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Old 02-01-2013, 14:22   #8
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Re: water tank used for fuel

Most water tanks are not made to USCG requirements.I would suggest you carry the fuel on deck for passages. You can live without fuel but not without water. If your water maker craps out (Things never break do they?) then you may find yourself short on water. Also if you put fuel in the water tank I do not think you could go back to using the tank for water as you would likely never get all the fuel and odor out. This would effect the resale value of the boat. All things to think about.
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Old 02-01-2013, 14:35   #9
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Re: water tank used for fuel

HDPE is suitable for fuel, but other plastics commonly used for water tanks are not suitable for fuel. You MUST also have hose and fittings that are also suitable for fuel. You MUST also have proper vent lines.

The bottom line is I would not mess with putting fuel in a water tank. Get a fuel tank that was designed to be a fuel tank from the beginning that also meets CFR (legal) standards for fuel tanks on recreational boats. Also, once you put fuel in it, you can never go back to it being used as a potable water tank.

I wouldn't do it....too much can go wrong. You may also screw yourself out of an insurance claim if doing this caused a problem, such as if it caused a boat fire.
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Old 02-01-2013, 15:18   #10
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Re: water tank used for fuel

Putting a bladder tank inside the water tank might be a good compromise. Ensuring the bladder is protected, the only tubing is in the top, and the material is compatible with the fuel.
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Old 02-01-2013, 16:44   #11
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Re: Water Tank Used for Fuel

On the boat I work right now some water tanks are used for storing extra diesel (to run the genset to make electricity to run the watermaker to make water ...).

The tanks are grp (gelcoat inside).

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