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Old 17-09-2020, 05:12   #1
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Heaters on a gas powered boat?

I just purchased a C&C 30 with a gas powered atomic 4 engine. Iím a little weary about the risk of explosion with a gas powered boat That developed a leak, but Iíd like to get a heater. Is this safe? On the other hand, the boat has a stove and I donít hear any stories about gas powered boats being blown up when people use their stove.
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Old 17-09-2020, 05:32   #2
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Re: Heaters on a gas powered boat?

This is as close as you can get.

Note: you can’t do anything below decks safely with gasoline heating


https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums...rs-236591.html

The (debated) conclusion of the thread was an aircraft cabin heater outside, on deck.
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Old 17-09-2020, 05:32   #3
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Re: Heaters on a gas powered boat?

I can understand your desire for heat given your location. Are you thinking of a shore power electric portable heater or built in blown hot air type? and if so fuel by what?

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Old 17-09-2020, 05:39   #4
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Re: Heaters on a gas powered boat?

Other options are electric, diesel (with separate tank), wood stove, etc.

Are you at the dock or anchored out? When will you be using this heater?
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Old 17-09-2020, 05:52   #5
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Re: Heaters on a gas powered boat?

I've been fighting this same dilemma on my own boat. Having heat away from the dock without running the generator non-stop to power the reverse cycle A/C units would be nice.

Best solution I'm finding so far is to add a small diesel tank and mount a diesel hydronic heater in the forward bilge (which is isolated from the engine room and fuel tanks on my boat).

As far as gas fumes and fire risk, use of a fume detector, proper ventilation, and making sure fuel system components are in good shape goes a long way to keeping things safe. And with an older engine with a carb, the only pressurized section of the fuel system is from the fuel pump to the carb. And even that's fairly low pressure compared to what a fuel injection system uses. Everything before the fuel pump is non-pressurized.

It would be nice if someone could design a safe gasoline furnace for marine use, but it seems like that's just not going to happen.
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Old 17-09-2020, 05:56   #6
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Re: Heaters on a gas powered boat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chotu View Post
Other options are electric, diesel (with separate tank), wood stove, etc.

Are you at the dock or anchored out? When will you be using this heater?
Thanks all for the responses so far. The boat already has an electric heater, but Iíd like to be able to heat the boat when anchored out. Iím flexible on solid fuel vs diesel.

I think what Iím trying to get at is if heating on a gas powered boat is such a horrible idea, why do all these gas powered boats come with stoves? What can I do short of putting in an electric vs. Diesel engine to make this safer?
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Old 17-09-2020, 06:00   #7
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Re: Heaters on a gas powered boat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by donoharm View Post
I think what Iím trying to get at is if heating on a gas powered boat is such a horrible idea, why do all these gas powered boats come with stoves? What can I do short of putting in an electric vs. Diesel engine to make this safer?
I think the issue comes from a couple of things: gasoline is too flammable to make a good furnace fuel. Diesel heaters and such aren't ignition protected, so they have to be installed in a part of the boat where there's no gasoline equipment, tanks, fuel lines, etc.

A stove is in the cabin, which should be separated from the fuel containing areas, so unless there's been a major (and very detectable) failure to fill the cabin with fumes, the stove isn't a risk.
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Old 17-09-2020, 06:02   #8
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Re: Heaters on a gas powered boat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by donoharm View Post
... but Iíd like to get a heater. Is this safe? On the other hand, the boat has a stove and I donít hear any stories about gas powered boats being blown up when people use their stove.
FWIW: Stoves are an "attended" appliance; whereas heaters are (can be) an unattended appliance.
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Old 17-09-2020, 06:07   #9
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Re: Heaters on a gas powered boat?

A fume detector is a start, and necessary for protection against a fuel leak in the night.

We use a propane heater, with the bottle outside. It's this one:

https://www.boatownersworld.com/dick...in-heater.html

The big advantage is the the air in and exhaust out are concentric steel hoses, so that the flame is sealed off from the cabin and no cabin air is involved. Diesel models are available. Its a rather attractive mini-fireplace in your cabin, puts out a bunch of heat, and keeps my coffee hot. Went through three "winters" in north Florida with it, and loved it.
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Old 17-09-2020, 06:21   #10
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Re: Heaters on a gas powered boat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rslifkin View Post
I think the issue comes from a couple of things: gasoline is too flammable to make a good furnace fuel. Diesel heaters and such aren't ignition protected, so they have to be installed in a part of the boat where there's no gasoline equipment, tanks, fuel lines, etc.

A stove is in the cabin, which should be separated from the fuel containing areas, so unless there's been a major (and very detectable) failure to fill the cabin with fumes, the stove isn't a risk.
Ok, I think I see what you’re getting at now.

It comes down to how safely your fuel system and engine are set up.

You’d have to take a good look through everything to see where any possible gasoline leaks could be and exactly how gasoline fuel might make it’s way to any sources of open flame, including your marine stove and any heater you put in.

Fume Detectors aren’t expensive these days and can make a good line of defense.

Ideally, your gasoline system is all outside or at least behind an airtight bulkhead or enclosure. Is it?

You either have to isolate the gasoline system or isolate the heater. You’ll have to pick one, but keeping them apart is the main issue here.

My solution (custom built boat) was yo keep both out on deck in lockers isolated from each other.

As a thought way outside the box, could you possibly install your hydronic or even forced air cabin heater on deck, in a box, away from any possible leaks from the fuel system and atomic 4?

With some air ducting, it could work safely.

A wood stove or other solid fuel would depend on if it’s possible for fumes from any leak to make it into the cabin.

Need a lot more information on the boat itself. I know it’s a popular brand, but I’m not familiar with how well they have isolated the fuel system from the cabin.
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Old 17-09-2020, 07:51   #11
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Re: Heaters on a gas powered boat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chotu View Post
Ok, I think I see what youíre getting at now.

Ideally, your gasoline system is all outside or at least behind an airtight bulkhead or enclosure. Is it?
Itís in a separate compartment under the companionway, but I would imagine a leak into the bilge would travel everywhere. Also the compartment itself is probably not airtight.
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Old 17-09-2020, 07:55   #12
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Re: Heaters on a gas powered boat?

It would probably not be too hard to build an isolated and externally vented compartment into a cockpit locker or something for the heater.
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Old 17-09-2020, 08:10   #13
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Re: Heaters on a gas powered boat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by donoharm View Post
It’s in a separate compartment under the companionway, but I would imagine a leak into the bilge would travel everywhere. Also the compartment itself is probably not airtight.
Ok, the heater has got to go outside then.

As was just said, an on deck compartment isolated from the interior of the boat is your only safe option.

You can direct just the heated air into the cabin from the hot air output of the heater.

That’s exactly what I’m doing as soon as I get around to that part of the project.

I’m using a gasoline power heater (from a plane), because I want to be able to use my primary fuel for heating. I also can’t have the weight of a separate heater fuel tank. (All in my old thread I linked to).

In your case you could use a moderate size diesel tank somewhere to feed the more common diesel fired forced air heater such as a Webasto or Espar unit. Or even one of the super cheap Chinese diesel heaters you see on Amazon. A lot of people on here have had good luck with those once they work out some kinks.

They do make some Webasto gasoline powered “parking heaters” for cars. Same as the diesel ones, but made to run on gasoline. These seem to be available online, but were too small for my application.

Edit: thinking about the size of your boat and the on deck idea, you could probably use a couple of jerry cans of diesel to run that heater. They go through fuel very slowly and maybe you can find a way to go straight from the jerry can to the heater. The heaters do have a fuel pump.
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Old 17-09-2020, 08:45   #14
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Re: Heaters on a gas powered boat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chotu View Post
Ok, the heater has got to go outside then.
I checked the boat and everything behind the companionway is basically one big container. This includes the engine, gas tank, lazerettes, and batteries. So if I installed a heater, I would be placing it adjacent and in the same compartment as the gas tank. What a pain in the butt. Additionally, can you imagine throwing a fender in there and having its metal clip cause a spark? Suddenly an in cabin heater is the least of my worries. Disaster waiting to happen.
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Old 17-09-2020, 08:54   #15
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Re: Heaters on a gas powered boat?

The engine space does not have to be airtight.

Ignition protection section
https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/33/183.410

Other rules (of which the above is part of).
https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/33/part-183
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