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Old 09-03-2015, 09:15 AM   #201
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I don`t know, in the boat explosion case I was involved in years ago, if the baby blown into the air screamed before dying. The two adults I acted for had horrible injuries, all 4 limbs fractured,weeping infection sites from fragments forced deep into tissue by the explosion, etc. I`d like to forget it, I can`t, I don`t think it is wrong to raise safety as a consideration, as I did previously, without the grisly information above.
Something I learnt (if memory serves) from the investigations is the required ratio for combustion is 95% air 5% gas. A boat can be "safe" if the ratio is richer, but if air is added to the bilge by moving, that ratio can change. The problem lies in containment provided by hull and decks.
Despite my experience, I twice chartered gas boats from good companies, one was Halvorsen, and would nervously poke my nose into the ER. When I bought, I excluded gas engine boats from my search, including on safety grounds.
I am with you Bruce. It has personally affected me. I have seen an explosion where there was nothing left of the boat except what was raining out of the sky. Hollywood could not have done a better job. Amazingly, no one died but all were critically injured and lost limbs and had 3rd degree burns. We even went through the fund raining process afterwards and did benefits to help piece those people back together with prosthetics. If my boat went faster than 7 knots I would have been first on the scene. I was about 400 yards away when it happened. THe only upside and likely the reason no one died was the coordination of the TowBoatUS and the USCG. He had those people loaded into his boat and the life flight helicopters were waiting when he got to a good drop off point.

Another somewhat recent incident in our marina was a boat with a bilge full of gasoline and a not very smart guy who decided to use a shop vac to clean it up. Boom....and he did die. It would be easy to shrug that one off as Darwinism but who knows what was going on. The dude died and many boats burned. Still a tragedy.

Gasoline boats are less safe than diesel boats. That is the reality of it. Can the risks be mitigated...sure. But not completely. You will pay more insurance for a gas boat for the reasons stated above. They burn and they kill(CO poisoning) more than diesel boats do.
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Old 09-03-2015, 09:33 AM   #202
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I imagine that today's high-tech FP resin mixture circumvents that blister problem???

After 40 years , of course the new FR does not have the problem Hetron did for 4-5 years , 40 years ago.
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Old 09-03-2015, 12:21 PM   #203
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Gasoline boats are less safe than diesel boats. That is the reality of it. Can the risks be mitigated...sure. But not completely. You will pay more insurance for a gas boat for the reasons stated above. They burn and they kill(CO poisoning) more than diesel boats do.
I tried in my post to actually say what Baker just wrote but I didn't have the guts. Thanks, John!
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Old 09-03-2015, 01:42 PM   #204
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One of the most chilling things I heard was a radio conversation involving a gasoline cruiser offshore of Jacksonville Fla. I was in my ride heading up the coast offshore. A man was running the boat from the flybridge and came down into the cabin to find his family unconscious. I don't remember all the details, but I think with ventilation they came to. For an hour I slowed down and just listened. I was too far to be any help.

I also participated in a CO fatality investigation as an engineer. Gasoline genset, poor ventilation and just the exact necessary weather conditions necessary combined. Kept walking by the bunk with vomit still on it.
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Old 09-04-2015, 06:53 AM   #205
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Any boat with an engine with the exhaust in the stern cam fill the vessel in the right aft wind conditions with exhaust.

North Sea exhaust (both sides vent) or a dry stack are probably safer.
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Old 09-04-2015, 10:14 AM   #206
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Seen and heard of many boat related gas fires and exhaust deaths. They are so numerous that anyone considering a gas powered older vessel should pay strong heed. Older diesel vessels are inherently safer for three reasons, first diesel is much less combustible, second diesel evaporative vapors are low in comparison and third diesels pull in much more air resulting in a less toxic and diluted exhaust.

An interesting gas explosion I am aware of happened 30 years ago in a a marina on the Mississippi above St Louis. A fellow was routinely taking his secretary to his houseboat during lunch. His wife caught wind of what was going on and went to the houseboat one lunch hour and observed the action from a distance. Incensed, she returned the next day with hubbies rifle and fired two shots into the gas powered vessel. One punctured a fuel tank.

The wife left and the tank leaked, finally triggering the bilge pump to come on. BOOM

Both participants were lifted by the explosion into the water nude as the boat blew apart. responders included not only others in the marina but police, fire and the St Louis Post Dispatch. Lots of mirth, few injuries and a jailed wife. This is a happy story in comparison to Bruce's and many others.

I would never own an older gas tanked vessel. With the witches brew of alcohol fuels mandated, hoses, tanks, and fittings are real world leak points. Not to mention older FRP tanks potential incompatibility with E15.

Ten years ago each fuel fill line on my 9 year old SeaRay began weeping. Problem was a result of hose not able to withstand the Lake Powell high heat. Shame on SeaRay for using low grade hose.

So for the OP, why even pursue an old gas powered vessel unless you are planning on bringing each and every tank, line and fitting up to E15 compatibility - at great expense and still fraught with worry.
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Old 09-04-2015, 12:15 PM   #207
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If this was a forum where 99% of members had gas boats the text would read very differently I think.

Electricity in your house is probably more dangerous than gas in your boat.

But a gas boat carries the very real danger always. And stuff happens.
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Old 09-05-2015, 06:55 AM   #208
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"They are so numerous that anyone considering a gas powered older vessel should pay strong heed."

If this were true , the folks with the most to loose every INSURANCE CARRIER would have noticed sometime in the last 50 -75 years and adjusted the policy rates.

Some fears are simply personal problems , and not real world demons.
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Old 09-05-2015, 08:15 AM   #209
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If this were true , the folks with the most to loose every INSURANCE CARRIER would have noticed sometime in the last 50 -75 years and adjusted the policy rates
Right you are FF. Insurance carriers have higher deductibles for gas vs diesel and increase rates based upon age of vessel.
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Old 09-05-2015, 11:16 AM   #210
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Without a doubt, gasoline is more dangerous than diesel, but the risks can be mitigated.

With a well designed and maintained boat, I'd say the difference in risk between gasoline & diesel power is very minimal.
If the boat is very poorly designed and maintained, a gasoline inboard could be a nightmare.

ABYC regs and require blowers, bilge pumps, etc to be designed in a manner so it will not ignite gasoline vapour.
Here's an example: https://law.resource.org/pub/us/cfr/....H-22.1986.pdf

They are designed that way, but if not properly installed or maintained, they may not stay that way.

Moral of the story - if gasoline powered, take extra good care of your boat.
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Old 09-05-2015, 12:37 PM   #211
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Moral of the story - if gasoline powered, take extra good care of your boat.
What about saying however your boat is powered and whatever fuel sources you have on it take good care. Safety is a philosophy and constant practice pertaining to all aspects. We all make safety choices and decisions every day of our lives.

A simple example outside this realm. I have a car most would consider somewhat unsafe. It's small, it's light, it's overpowered, and it often has no top. However, I do drive it as safely as I can and don't engage in high speed driving or racing or anything else of that nature.

On a boat there is some inherent danger every time you use it. I've decided to accept those. However, I do many things to minimize the danger. I don't let fly by night handymen wire electricity. I address any problems immediately. I have the bottom checked routinely and often including zincs and through hulls.

Wifey B: And he doesn't pee over the side of the boat....
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Old 09-05-2015, 04:01 PM   #212
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BandB,
Why is your little car so over powered if you drive it so safely? My favorite little car is underpowered partly due to a slipping clutch. Great way to get really good millage. Sometimes it stops slipping and that's fun but I'm programed to only go 1/2 throttle. So I gather that you driving an overpowered car w no top that you'd be up for a gas boat if you had a bad lust for it. Me too.
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Old 09-05-2015, 04:44 PM   #213
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BandB,
Why is your little car so over powered if you drive it so safely? My favorite little car is underpowered partly due to a slipping clutch. Great way to get really good millage. Sometimes it stops slipping and that's fun but I'm programed to only go 1/2 throttle. So I gather that you driving an overpowered car w no top that you'd be up for a gas boat if you had a bad lust for it. Me too.
I didn't even know anyone had diesel boats until mid 2012. All I'd ever been on was gas. If you get a center console or most dinghies and tenders are going to be gas.

At the same time I do understand those who say they'd never own one. You get certain images in your mind and it's hard to ever get beyond them.

And, no I don't get really good mileage, but better than the boat. More mpg. We drive our cars so little. Why so overpowered. It's got good acceleration. Can I admit totally illogical. Our dream cars we'll probably keep forever. At 4000 miles a year the should last. The advertised speed, I have no idea. It's like being up on the mountain and being told you're looking at 5 states. How do you know? There are no lines like on a map.
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Old 09-07-2015, 07:40 PM   #214
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We just spent the whole 5 day weekend playing aboard five (5) different gasoline powered boats; some fast some slow... two of em we own! All craft having very well cared for engines and fuel systems. Not sure if wife and I were spreading the risk, or increasing the risk by changing off and on really nice gas boats all weekend. We sure had great safe fun! Could die in highway collision tomorrow... I'll take enjoyable careful chances aboard good condition gasoline boats - Any Day!!!


Diesel powered boats can be great fun too... But.... don't be so fearful of gasoline that you may miss some of the fun!
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Old 09-07-2015, 08:19 PM   #215
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Art, you're probably one of the most active gasoholics here on TF. How do you deal with the ethanol issues on your boats? Any problems with the rubber or plastic components? Gaskets, hoses, tanks, etc? Filters for water issues?
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Old 09-07-2015, 09:45 PM   #216
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Art, you're probably one of the most active gasoholics here on TF. How do you deal with the ethanol issues on your boats? Any problems with the rubber or plastic components? Gaskets, hoses, tanks, etc? Filters for water issues?
Hey Al... Thanks for asken!

I've mentioned this before, but most po pooed me as being a snake salesman; soooo I stopped mentioning.

I Have No Problems!

I always use, have had great results with, and highly recommend Soltron - for all fuels in all boats that do not often and fully change their entire fuel content in their tanks. IMO, not necessary in o/b 6 gal tanks unless they are to be left with same fuel inside for a long, long time.

Soltron - The enzyme fuel treatment for diesel and petrol engines

NAPA sells it.
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Old 09-08-2015, 12:56 AM   #217
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I checked out the link and searched all their pages for ethanol, but no mention of it.

Am I missing something?
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Old 09-08-2015, 07:46 AM   #218
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I checked out the link and searched all their pages for ethanol, but no mention of it.

Am I missing something?
Al - Only item I found on that site is as "follows" in link below: Seven years ago when I began using Soltron there was a much more detailed website. One item previously mentioned in their past site that brought me to using it was that it stopped ethanol/dino fuel separation. The complete and very fast way it cleaned up the water and gunk out of fuel (gasoline) in our Tollycraft was nothing short of impressive. I've never found a spec of gunk or water again in my large spin on fuel filters. Whenever I check/change filters I pour all the filter's fuel into glass jar... perfectly clear every time.

"Improve fuel quality with Bio fuels" Soltron in commercial, industrial and road fuel

Maybe you ought to contact them from the website and ask question regarding ethanol fuels.


PS: "Edit" - Al... I just emailed them too regarding same. Maybe your question-form may get better/different response.
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Old 09-08-2015, 09:58 AM   #219
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As I see it, one big problem with gas boats is that not all boats are "Well Maintained". A cracked fitting, loose hose clamp or improperly installed filter can lead to a gas leak. Last year there was a meticulously maintained gas boat in the slip next to mine. Despite the boat looking better than new, there was ALWAYS a smell of gas around it. They clearly had a leak somewhere that needed fixing. I am very glad that it moved to a different slip on a different dock this year.

Furthermore, small leaks can be tough to track down and take time to fix. This season I had a tiny fuel leak on my boat. It was detected by smell, not by accumulation of fuel in the engine pan. After much checking I finally isolated it to a leaking crush washer on the return line on one of the injectors. It took wrapping the injectors in paper towels and running the engine for 2 hours to get enough fuel to leak out to be detectable on the toweling. I spent probably 2 weeks tracking that leak down and then had to wait an additional 2 days for the new parts to arrive before I could repair it. Fortunately I have a diesel boat, so the only problem was smell. On a gas boat the same leak would have created a fire/explosion hazard.
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Old 09-08-2015, 11:58 AM   #220
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Despite the boat looking better than new, there was ALWAYS a smell of gas around it. They clearly had a leak somewhere that needed fixing. I am very glad that it moved to a different slip on a different dock this year.
.
Should you have reported it to the marina? Would they have done anything?
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