tanks on boats are not pressurized
like they are in automobiles. Because of this, inboard boat tanks
have an air vent to relieve the pressure that builds while filling
a tank. (Learn more about why boats “burp.”)
As a result, no matter what kind of boat you have and no matter
how careful you are during fueling, it is really quite easy to spill
fuel out into the water if you don’t take a few simple precautions.
with the law. Under federal law, you are required to report a fuel
or oil spill, no matter how small, if it is enough to cause
on the surface of the water. And by creating a sheen, you are breaking
a law and openingyourself up to fines that can go into five digits.
While you want to get rid of the sheen, it’s also illegal to
use a couple of squirts of dishwashing detergent on the water’s
surface. Add this all up, and you can see how the nature of boat fuel
tanks and the law don’t exactly make compatible bed fellows.
Inline Fuel/Air Separators
your concern over the environment, worry over landing a fine for
pollution, or your quest to keep caustic chemicals off your teak
and gelcoat, you’ve probably got a vested interest in keeping
your fuel’s journey from nozzle to tank a clean and simple
one. So how do you do that?
Above: Vented Deck Fills
What’s a Boater to Do? No matter what size boat
you have, there is something you can do to prevent accidental fuel
spills. If you’ve got
a big boat with big tanks, it might
be one approach, while if you have a sailboat with a small tank,
another. We tested a variety of devices—from hardware you
install, to computers that can make you smarter about your fuel
usage—and were thrilled to see so many options to keep drips
and drops out of the water.
Above: Fuel Management Systems
Plus, in the
course of testing, we got familiar with different absorbent pads,
catchment devices, fueling bibs and donuts, as well as other supplies
that can come in handy while fueling any boat. Finally, there are
some tried and true techniques for fueling that will reduce the chances
of overfilling. The end result of all this research is that we found
there’s an option for every single boater. We hope this information
will help you find the right answer for you.