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Old 08-16-2010, 10:17 AM   #1
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Are there any generally-recognized rules covering the placing of fuel tanks near engines e.g minimum safe distance? On a cat I know of the tank is situated in that section of the hull under the mainsheet traveller at the rear of the cockpit (i.e. the 'back-wall' of the cockpit) and the engines are under each of the port and starboard seats in the cockpit, which means that the tank can't be more than 2 or 3 feet away from the engines. But this boat has been going strong for 30 years. Any thoughts?
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Old 08-16-2010, 10:30 AM   #2
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The difference between diesel and gasoline as fuels is significant. Diesel fuel is "combustible", whereas gasoline (petrol) is flammable. There are lots of precautions for storing gasoline and for starting gasoline engines, particularly in boats. Because gasoline vaporizes and can explode, even a stray spark can ignite gasoline vapors in an enclosed space. So yes, for gasoline there are more rules and precautions.

Diesel does not ignite with a spark, does not readily vaporize, and thus has fewer restrictions and precautions than gasoline. And it is also the reason that it is the preferred fuel for boats.

Do a search for "combustible vs. flammable fuels" and you will get plenty of information about this. Here's one link: http://www.martinoilco.com/safety_training.pdf
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Old 08-16-2010, 10:43 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeanneP' date='16 August 2010 - 12:24 PM View Post

The difference between diesel and gasoline as fuels is significant. Diesel fuel is "combustible", whereas gasoline (petrol) is flammable. There are lots of precautions for storing gasoline and for starting gasoline engines, particularly in boats. Because gasoline vaporizes and can explode, even a stray spark can ignite gasoline vapors in an enclosed space. So yes, for gasoline there are more rules and precautions.

Diesel does not ignite with a spark, does not readily vaporize, and thus has fewer restrictions and precautions than gasoline. And it is also the reason that it is the preferred fuel for boats.

Do a search for "combustible vs. flammable fuels" and you will get plenty of information about this. Here's one link: http://www.martinoil...ty_training.pdf
Sorry. I was talking about diesel engines. I should have said.
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Old 08-18-2010, 05:17 AM   #4
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Hello Graham,

The storage of Diesel on a boat is important for a number of reasons - The material of which the tank is made is of major importance in so far as if it leaks one doesn't want diesel in the bilges, Apart from the fact that diesel can be set alight (with a flame), the smell of spilt diesel takes a lot of work to eliminate. For example having tanks in a cockpit's lazarette, where a leak can be isolated and repaired easily is a good design feature on many multihulls. the question of how far from the engine : this depends on a situation where an engine or electrical fire develops -- if properly shielded with fire retard material, alarmed and having the correct type of fire extinguishers properly placed to deal with such fires - the diesel tank will survive most fires except those that engulf the whole boat especially FRP boats. The ISAF and the RORC Code for offsdhore boats has rules for the safe carriage of fuel.

Richard
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