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Old 10-31-2012, 02:31 PM   #1
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Propane Bottles

I am planning on carrying two 40 lb propane bottles on my back deck. Actually its the top of the aft cabin. My boat is a Mainship 36 DC and is not unlike most 36 aft cabin models. I would like to bracket them against the short bulkhead section which is the salon bulkhead that extends up to the fly bridge.
Does anyone here carry propane bottles and how do you do it and what kind of brackets or tie-downs do you use?
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Old 10-31-2012, 02:38 PM   #2
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Tony: That's a lot of propane. You converting the Mainship to propane? A 20 lb cylinder (barbecue size) lasts us about 2 months of cruising full time.
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Old 10-31-2012, 06:55 PM   #3
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I know those boats well and I think that would be an excellent place to secure propane.
A "C" shaped bracket against the bulkhead to rest the bottles, then strap or bungy them against the bracket. They should be fine.
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Old 10-31-2012, 08:44 PM   #4
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Most Grand Banks boats have a propane locker on the flying bridge under one of the bench seats. It is sealed to prevent propane from seeping down into the boat's interior and there is a vent that directs any escaped propane overboard.

We have two aluminum horizontal tanks mounted side by side in the propane longer. Their feet are secured with wing nuts to wood pads sealed to the floor of the locker.

I think the best way to visualize a safe place to store propane is to think of it as a waterfall of cold air. If you mount a bottle in position-X is there any way propane could flow down from that spot and enter the boat? Is there a window that if open could admit the flow of propane spilling down the cabin side? Could the wind blow it through a window or other opening? Could it land on the deck and flow down that to a vent or some other opening in the boat?

If propane coming from a tank can spill down and flow off the boat then that mounting spot is a safe one.
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Old 11-01-2012, 06:23 AM   #5
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"I am planning on carrying two 40 lb propane bottles on my back deck."

How will you refill them? Cruising you may not have a car.

These can not be swopped at the local 7-11 so need to be taken toa and from the refill pump .

They are heavy!!! and will need walking up docks , and down when filled.

Perhaps 20# would work easier at getting refilled.

We carry (5) 20# units . This gives 3-4 months of refrigeration and cooking .

THe folding style shopping cart is fine for one full bottle on most docks.
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Old 11-01-2012, 08:10 AM   #6
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Thanks guys.
We will be cruising from Tx. to Mobile Bay (Al) and up to northern Ky. This coming spring. This will probably be spread over a 3 month period. We will be doing a lot of visiting and touristy things along the way including anchoring out a lot.
My plan is to have a gas stove, gas hot water (instant-on) and a BBQ. If we have some cool nights, I have a portable gas heater. Two 40 pounders may seem like a lot but I already own 2 pretty new ones from my previous shop.
The bottles will be outside on the aft sun deck. The area will have a canvas enclosure which is not gas tight because of the openings along the deck so trapping gas fumes is not going to be a problem. The portable gas heater uses up a lot of gas and I mean a lot!.
I plan on buying or making a manifold to be located on the deck so all of the gas lines will go from outside the boat cabin, directly to the appliance inside the boat with no Ts, Ys etc.
I have had gas stoves before and am familiar with all of the safety devices including the remote on-off switch in addition to the sniffers and automatic shut-offs.
The reason I want two bottles is because I don't want to run out of gas in the middle of nowhere. This way, when one tank is empty, I have at least another month or so to find a place to fill up.

Thanks for the info guys.
The more I think about it, two 20s would probably be a much better option. They would certainly be easier to handle if I have to bum a ride.
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Old 11-01-2012, 08:46 AM   #7
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Here is a link to the ABYC propane installation requirements:

http://www.abycinc.org/committees/A-01.pdf

You don't have to follow these requirements, no propane police will visit and condemm your boat for violating them, but they represent the safe way to install a propane system on a boat so if you're concerned for your safety and the safety of your companions or family, you might want to consider using them as a guide to your installation.

Be sure that any appliance you install is intended and approved for marine installation. Same with hoses and fittings.
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Old 11-01-2012, 10:39 AM   #8
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I would think 20# bottles might be a better approach as well. You can always walk those up a dock and get them filled. Most every marina supports getting them filled in one way or another.
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Old 11-01-2012, 11:03 AM   #9
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In case anyone doesn't know, most of the "exchange" places don't fill the tanks to 20 lb. Somewhere on the sign or tank they will let you know, but it's usually 15 lb, not 20.

They are not actually charging for more propane than they arw supplying, but if you're expecting 20 lb and get 15 lb, you might run out sooner than you planned on.

If you have someone fill your tank, you get what you pay for.
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Old 11-01-2012, 12:19 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rwidman View Post
.........If you have someone fill your tank, you get what you pay for.
Exactly right.
I know they are not supposed to actually fill to the top. I dont remember the cut-off point but it is shy of the full amount. Most places I have gone to, they weight the tank before filling since they already know the empty weight. Then they fill to a certain point and stop and charge by the gallon or pound, whichever. I have been charged both ways.
I have never swapped tanks because I keep mine in brand new condition.
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Old 11-01-2012, 12:27 PM   #11
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Exactly right.
I know they are not supposed to actually fill to the top. I dont remember the cut-off point but it is shy of the full amount. Most places I have gone to, they weight the tank before filling since they already know the empty weight. Then they fill to a certain point and stop and charge by the gallon or pound, whichever. I have been charged both ways.
I have never swapped tanks because I keep mine in brand new condition.
I've had tanks filled before but not recently. The last time I needed propane my plan was to have the cylinder refilled but once I took a look at it, I decided to exchange it instead.

One problem with a proper propane locker is it traps moisture and promotes rust on steel tanks.
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Old 11-01-2012, 12:44 PM   #12
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I know they are not supposed to actually fill to the top. I dont remember the cut-off point but it is shy of the full amount.
All refilled bottles need to be equipped with an OPD (Overfill Prevention Device). This is indicated by a triangular shaped valve. Exchanged cylinders normally have between 15# - 17# in them. With an OPD installed, they cannot fill further.

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Old 11-01-2012, 01:37 PM   #13
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All refilled bottles need to be equipped with an OPD (Overfill Prevention Device). This is indicated by a triangular shaped valve. Exchanged cylinders normally have between 15# - 17# in them. With an OPD installed, they cannot fill further.
The exception to this is a horizontal bottle, by which I mean one that was made to be mounted horizontally. Not a BBQ bottle fitted with homemade legs or anything like that. There is a waiver (we have a copy from the propane company we use to refill bottles) that exempts purpose-built horizontal bottles from needing an OPD.

New horizontal bottles will have an OPD but if you have a horizontal bottle made before the cutoff date it is still legal to refill it. We have one OPD horizontal bottle in our propane locker and one non-OPD bottle. They were quite expensive so it's nice to continue to be able to have the old one refilled.
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Old 11-01-2012, 04:33 PM   #14
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That's true. I had one in an old camper van and they would still fill it. Reminds me I should have kept that before selling the van.
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Old 11-01-2012, 05:37 PM   #15
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Greetings,
Mr. Marin. What is this "cut off date" for tanks with an OPD? I'm assuming tanks so equipped are set up for the OPD to function in a vertical position as this is the attitude in which they are filled or need they be filled in the horizontal position (doesn't seem likely)?
I know some juristictions will not fill a vertical steel tank over X years old but what about the aluminum ones?
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Old 11-01-2012, 05:56 PM   #16
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This may help:

OPD Fact Sheet

This fact sheet provides information on the requirements for Overfilling Prevention Devices (OPDs). OPDs were required in the 1998 edition of NFPA 58, Liquefied Petroleum Gas Code. The requirements were modified in the 2001 edition to exempt certain horizontal cylinders.
What is an OPD? An OPD is a safety shutoff device incorporated into the filling valve of a propane cylinder. It is intended to prevent overfilling of the cylinder, which can result in propane release, fire, and possibly injury. It is required on all propane cylinders between 4 pounds and 40 pounds propane capacity. The common gas grill cylinder holds about 20 pounds of propane.

How do I know if my cylinder has an OPD?

All cylinders manufactured after September 30, 1998 were required to have an OPD. If your cylinder has a triangular valve wheel, it has an
OPD. If it has a round wheel, it does not have an OPD.

What happens if my cylinder does not have an OPD? Cylinders not equipped with an OPD can be filled until either:
April 1, 2002, or
The cylinder is requalified.
Requalification is required by the U. S. Department of Transportation for all cylinders 12 years after the date of manufacture, and 5 years after the last requalification. The date of manufacture is stamped on the cylinder collar.

When requalified, the requailifcation date is stamped on the cylinder collar near the date of manufacture with an E after the date.

Who can requalify my cylinder? Many propane dealers will requalify cylinders. The cylinder valve will be replaced with a new valve incorporating an OPD. There is a charge for requalification. It may be more economical to replace the cylinder with a cylinder equipped with
an OPD, especially if it is rusty.

What about horizontal cylinders? The 2001 edition of NFPA added an exemption for horizontal cylinders manufactured before October 1, 1998 do not need an OPD, and can be continued in use. They must be requalified when required. They must have label to indicate that they are not equipped with an overfilling prevention device. Anyone can make the label.

Are any other cylinders that do not require an OPD? Yes. Cylinders used for industrial trucks, and cylinders used for industrial welding and cutting gases are not required to have an OPD. These cylinders must be labeled with their use.
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Old 11-01-2012, 06:01 PM   #17
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I prefer refilling my own bottles,at least I know where they have been. You pay for what goes in.
In Australia bottles are stamped with a build year and can`t be used after 9 years. But you can have them checked,the valve gets replaced,and if ok certified another 9 years. Cheaper than a new bottle.
Some leading insurers here insist on a marine gas fitter`s certificate every 5 years or so that the installation is compliant and not leaking. The "expert" who set up and certified mine used a mix of incompatible threads so after a while it leaked at the two bottle set up on the flybridge. I reworked it replacing the wrong parts.Some expert!
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Old 11-01-2012, 06:32 PM   #18
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Greetings,
I think my tanks have the triangular knobs BUT were purchased @ WM about 4 or 5 years ago. I'll have to check. Thanks for the information.
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Old 11-01-2012, 06:45 PM   #19
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Safe Boat Propane installations
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Old 11-01-2012, 07:47 PM   #20
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The places that do exchanges will accept non-OPD equipped cylinders as trade-ins. I paid the premium price to swap mine out for new cylinders rather than dealing with buying new or re-qualifying.
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