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Old 11-08-2005, 10:47   #1
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Fuel Fill Grounding - Imprtant Safety Notice

Coast Guard Warning: Fuel Fill Technical Bulletin:

Special Warning for Plastic Body and Metal Fuel Caps:
Deck fill units that have a plastic body with metal components such as a metallic lid or metal retaining chain, are NOT to be grounded. Read the important Safely Message & Technical Bulletin issued by the United States Coast Guard (USCG) in February 2005:

“Recent events have caused the boating industry to examine the policy regarding the bonding of plastic body fuel fills with metallic caps and retaining chains. Existing USCG & ABYC policy states that the bonding of these components is voluntary. A study by IMANNA Laboratories has shown that connecting the metallic retaining chain and cap of a plastic body fuel fill assembly to a boats bonding system may result in electrostatic discharge from a land-based fuel pump nozzle to the metallic components of the assembly when the boat is not in the water. This condition does not exist when the boat is in the water due to the equalizations of the ground potentials between the fuel pump nozzle and the boats bonding system.

It is recommended by ABYC and the USCG that new and existing installations of this type of fuel fill assembly DO NOT INCLUDE any attachment to the boats bonding system. Existing connections should be removed from the point of connection to the boats bonding system to the fuel fill assembly. Removal of the metallic components of the assembly is not necessary; however, the U.S. Coast Guard and ABYC still require that METALLIC body fuel fills be bonded.


A Caution About Grounding Your Deck Fill: Please check with your installation instructions regarding grounding requirements or refer to a marina or boat yard that is versed in American Boat & Yacht Council (ABYC) construction standards.

Because fuel nozzles are metal and the flow of fuel through it generates static, a small but dangerous spark (called an Electrostatic Discharge or ESD) can occur when the nozzle is inserted into a metal filler neck. To prevent sparking, a ground wire must be attached from the metal deck fill unit to the boat’s bonding system. Also, it is important that the nozzle remain in contact with the metal deck fill at all times while refueling. Never wrap a nozzle in an absorbent pad or rag so that it prevents a good contact between the nozzle and metal body of the deck fill. When refueling portable fuel tanks, always place directly on the ground, never on a plastic truck bed-liner or a dock made of synthetic plastic wood. Good contact between a portable tank and a solid grounded object is essential.

See the BoatUS article:
Foundation findings #40 - Products to Keep Fuel Where it Belongs - In Your Tank:

For further information contact:
John Adey, ABYC (410) 956-1050 ext. 29 - Email:
Richard Blackman, USCG (202) 267-6810 - Email:
Gord May
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