Having owned keel
boats for over 35 years I'm not a newbie, but despite being as careful as I can be, I've had too many spills at fuel
docks- gushers coming out of the deck
fill before the tank is full, fuel
spilling out the vent when I over-estimated how much fuel I needed (I have two 100 gallon tanks), etc.
This has been embarrassing as heck and I hate, hate, hate damaging the environment
by spilling fuel.
I hope you can relate and don't think I'm alone in this.
I was determined to figure out how to prevent another spill. After a lot of research
on different products and methods, and experimentation with some of them, I'd like to share my latest three-pronged strategy that I now use to prevent embarrassing and damaging fuel spills at fuel docks-
1. Spill Prevention at deck fill
I've been using a Scandvik Cleanway
and it's a great design that works well to prevent the "gusher" from spilling fuel all over the deck that's happened to me a few times (photo below).
In truth, since we got it I haven't had a "gusher" because we now take our time and use a start/stop procedure to prevent foam from building up in the tank that I believe is the cause. But it's great peace of mind to know that if we had a gusher it would be contained.
2. Fuel Whistle
We installed a Fuel Whistle
in the vent line that lets us know when the tank is near full. Works well but requires enough air flow to work
, so again, we take our time and use the start/stop method when we know the tank is 3/4 or more full to ensure we're not creating foam that will prevent the whistle from working.
3. Vent Spill Catcher
This is a game
changer for us. Instead of fancy gadgets that either are no longer available or that we don't like how they work
, this device goes over the vent and catches any fuel that spills from overfilling.
Apparently, this used to be commercially available but no longer. But after seeing one at a fuel dock
it looked easy to make, so I did! See attached photos. The hardest part is figuring out the rubber ring to cover the area around the vent and direct spilled fuel into the container, but this extra nozzle that came with the Scandvik Cleanway
How to Build Your Own Vent Spill Catcher
- plastic flat sided container, about 1 quart size, preferably clear for visibility
- two suction cups
- plastic rectangle to mount suction cups and nozzle (I removed the handle and pad from a scrubbing pad I had on hand). Be sure to measure so that it's wide enough for the suction cups to clear the nozzle.
- Rubber nozzle that will fit over vent. As mentioned above we used this
- carabiner on a string as a safety
line to prevent container from falling into the water
1. Cut a hole near the top of the container the size of the nozzle.
2. Position the plastic rectangle horizontally and cut a hole in the middle to insert the nozzle and drill two holes for the suction cups on either side.
3. Insert/install the suction cups
4. Insert the nozzle with the flat side on the same side as the suction cups
5. Attach the assembled plastic rectangle to the container by inserting the nozzle into the hole in the container. If you used this nozzle
the tab goes on top and the tapered side goes on the bottom. The tab keeps the nozzle in place without needing additional fasteners and the tapered lip directs spilled fuel into the container.
6. Tie string to carabiner (long enough to clip on to the location nearest the fuel vent) and secure to the body of your new vent spill catcher.
And that's it! Just place the rubber nozzle over the fuel vent and push to secure the suction cups (clean the surface as needed) and you're good to go.
I hope you find this helpful and welcome your comments!