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How to Fuel a Boat Safely: 3 Important Tips

Fuel your boat safely

Learning how to fuel a boat safely will help play a part in keeping your summer trouble-free out on the water. There’s really no way around the fact that gasoline is flammable and dangerous, and as such it deserves your respect no matter the season. Fortunately, with just a little care, it’s possible to keep your summer boating fun free of disasters.

No Smoking, Please

It seems basic, but smoking near a container of gasoline or someone who is fueling a boat must be avoided at all costs. It’s not the liquid form of gasoline that poses the greatest fire risk, but rather the fumes that escape from a container or tank. It’s not always easy to detect gasoline fumes until its too late, which means the best practice is to simply not smoke anywhere near a can of gas or someone who is pumping it into a boat.

Watch for Spills boat on trailer

The best place you can fuel your boat is always on flat and level ground, with the boat sitting on a trailer that has also been leveled-out. There are two reasons for this: A level boat makes it easier to fill a tank than one that is tilted, and when you are learning how to fuel a boat safely on dry land there’s zero chance that a spill will end up in the waterway where it can do significant environmental damage. Preventing spills also means making sure that you rest your portable tank or pump nozzle right on the filler port, and that you work as slowly as you can to minimize leakage.

Store In a Safe Place

When you’re not using your portable fuel tank — whether it’s full or empty — you should always take care to store it safely. In fact, an empty or half-full tank of gasoline can be even more dangerous than a full one because more volume inside the container is filled with combustible fumes. The best place to keep a fuel tank is in a cool and dry spot that won’t heat up when exposed to the sun. This typically means using the space in the lower storage area on your boat. If you can keep the fuel tank on your trailer and make sure the trailer is parked in the shade, then that’s an even better idea.

Refueling your boat is something to take seriously. Take the proper precautions so you and your friends and family can stay safe and have fun on the water this summer.

Check out all the marine & boat products available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on how to fuel a boat safely, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photo courtesy of Morguefile.


Benjamin Hunting View All

Having been bitten by the car bug at a young age, I spent my formative years surrounded by Studebakers at car shows across Quebec and the northeastern United States. Over ten years of racing, restoring, and obsessing over automobiles lead me to balance science writing and automotive journalism full time.  I currently contribute as an editor to several online and print automotive publications, and I also write and consult for the pharmaceutical and medical device industry.

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