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Old 01-24-2016, 08:07 AM   #61
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Alaskan SD, your points are well taken, and rest assured I wasn't attempting to goad you into compliance, my fuel filter and battery box recommendations were sincere and born of a desire to make a safer vessel for you and your crew.

For the sake of all TF readers, forget, for the moment, I used the A(BYC) word, I understand it's controversial around here. Just look at it this way, it's not about standards or the politics thereof, it's about practical, real-world fire safety. If you have an engine room fire the heat shield and metallic drain plug buy the filter time, time that will ideally be used to extinguish the fire with a fixed fire fighting system or at least a portable extinguisher, period, there's no ulterior motive. In all cases, I cite standards for no other reason than to reinforce my own beliefs, beliefs that are derived of actual, from the trenches, hands-on boat building, service and repair experience. And, I'm no knee-jerk compliance fanatic, there are ABYC Standards with which I disagree, some are too stringent, others not stringent enough, I always rely on my own judgment and experience first.

Now back to ABYC, save those that apply to navigation lights and a handful of other Code of Federal Regulation laws, there were no "US required [boat building]standards" in 1988 nor are there now. It's true, the US boat building industry is for the most part self-regulating. Today a builder or yard could use that same filter, and some still do, it's foolish but they do it, and not be cited for it. The retrofit in your case is, once again, easy, parts are available on line, they are not very costly, you could do it in 2 hours max and it would be a good opportunity to clean out your filter bowls and coalescers.

As an aside, the flame resistance guideline has been around for decades, almost certainly long before your boat was built (see its history below), so it didn't comply then, the Standards were just far less prolific back then so many builders simply didn't know this was a potential fire safety issue, and the automotive version of the filter is less expensive than the MA version, which is why it was chosen by some installers. By the way, if your vessel was of the inspected variety, if you carried passengers for pay, a charter boat for instance, the heat shield would be required.

Having said all that, the fact that ABYC doesn't make standards available to the public represents a gross error in judgment on their part, and as a long-time member and participant in the standards and certification process I've shared that opinion on many occasions. I've argued that the best way to ensure increased compliance is to educated boat owners as to the value of the Standards. Regrettably it falls on deaf ears.

It's an imperfect organization and I'm no apologist for them, however, let me set the record straight, their goal is not retroactive compliance, it's safer (and I'd argue more reliable and therefore less costly to own) boats. The standards actually aren't written by ABYC staff, they are written and revised by volunteer members who agree to participate in their Project Technical Committees, which are comprised of boat builders (who typically want fewer standards btw), equipment manufacturers, surveyors and other industry professionals. The standards are simply compiled by ABYC staff. I've participated in these committees, trust me, debates can become very heated, opinions on all sides run strong, which usually results in a practical, logical, useful standard.

Here's a good example of the usefulness of the Standards, one that's relevant to your boat, all ABYC-compliant off the shelf battery boxes are equipped with proper ventilation in the apex of the lid, to prevent entrapment of hydrogen gas, as the standard requires, "Battery boxes, whose cover forms a pocket over the battery, shall be vented at the uppermost portion of the cover". So you can see the practicality here, a battery box manufacturer who wished to offer a safe product would understandably choose to comply, and a boat owner or builder who wanted to be sure the product being chosen was safe and fit for purpose, would simply need to ensure it complied with the relevant ABYC standard. To your point, the boat owner would have to take the manufacturer's word for it that the product complied, because he or she isn't likely to join ABYC to get access to the Standards. Again, I think this is folly on ABYC's part.

"Origin and Development of ABYC H-33, Diesel Fuel Systems
This standard for diesel fuel systems was initially a part of P-2, Safe Installation of Fuel Systems for Propulsion and Auxiliary Machinery. First printed in 1967 as a proposed standard, the project included both gasoline and diesel fuel systems on boats. In 1970, P-2 was published as an adopted standard. Subsequently, the standard was renamed H-24, Fuel Systems (all permanently installed), and was published in 1975. In 1984, the standard split fuel systems into gasoline and diesel, and H-33, now titled Diesel Fuel Systems was published in 1984. Subsequent editions were published in 1989, 1998, 2005 and 2009. The 2015 edition is the work of the Fuel and Ventilation Systems PTC."
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Old 01-24-2016, 12:08 PM   #62
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Steve, I have the shoe box type battery boxes, if I installed stand off's around the upper flange on the boxes so the lid will not contact the flange would that comply with the apex being vented ?
Excellent information on how and what the ABYC is all about.
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Old 01-24-2016, 11:32 PM   #63
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Thank you Steve. I will make mods to the battery boxes.


What is the research and resources that ABYC used to establish the fuel filter standard? Any test results on MA version vs the ones I have?


My problem with ABYC is that they portray them selves as setting REQUIRED standards for the boating community and have brainwashed manufactures that their standards are LAW, which they are NOT. Then they hide this from the general public. Like any other fly-by-night organization it is all about money and in this case ABYC is no exception. If they were really concerned about the public boating community's safety, they would not hide their so-called standards that all boaters should follow.
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Old 01-25-2016, 08:23 AM   #64
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HiD, not sure I understand the set up, however, simply keep this in mind, what ever the arrangement, if rising gas can be trapped in a bubble or envelope above the battery, that's problematic. Look at any off the shelf battery box, all have small vents at the apex of the lid.

If there is a gap between the lid and the box but there's still an envelope trapping rising gas above it, the problem remains. And, for flooded batteries, which have been known to suffer explosions from time to time, boxes, with securely fitting lids, make sense. A few small holes in the lid will resolve the issue.
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Old 01-25-2016, 09:00 AM   #65
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Alaskan SD: ABYC relies on recognized standards and testing established by other organizations in many cases, names you've heard of such as Underwriters Laboratories, American Society for Testing and Materials and ISO to name a few. In the case of the fuel filter standard, ABYC guidelines specify, with a few exceptions, that all fuel-carrying components be capable of withstanding exposure to 2.5 minutes of flame without failing or leaking. The flame test rig and guidelines are very well detailed. If you look at a Racor MA series filter (it's easily differentiated from afar by its blue, like water, label, while the automotive FG version has a brown, like dirt, label) you'll see it's UL Marine Approved, so it's UL in this case that sets the standard and establishes the testing, ABYC simply adopts it as part of their standards.

Regarding ABYC's motives, I can't speak for them, and as I said I'm no apologist, however, as someone who routinely inspects new and used vessels and works with builders during new vessel construction, I can assure you builders for the most part know very well that ABYC Standards are not the law, there's no attempted brainwashing going on, or of there is it's not working, believe me, when I point out violations in new vessels they are often quick to point out they are not bound to comply (unless they claim compliance in their sales literature, or participate in the previously-mentioned NMMA ABYC collaborative program), they know it's not the law. Having said that, I firmly believe compliance is advantageous for both the builder and the boat owner, and i have no ulterior motive for saying this, I believe ABYC compliant vessels are safer, more reliable and less costly to own.

Once again, failing to make the standards accessible to the public, and failing to educate the public as to the value of standards compliance (this very discussion represents why that's needed), is in my view an error on ABYC's part, but you give them too much credit, there is no master plan or conspiracy. From my perspective, again as someone who works with boat buyers as well as the marine industry, when evaluating a vessel, or its design, the Standards are an invaluable asset. Without them a builder could say, "I've never needed flame resistant fuel plumbing before, I've never had a fire on a boat I built, why should I do it now? I've never had a battery explosion on any boat I've built, why change the lid design now". I'd try to convince him or her otherwise, however, it would be my judgement and experience against his or hers, and boat builders can be stubborn, trust me I was one. With the Standards however, I can point to them, chapter and verse and say, "Look, there's a reason these were written, ABYC was started with a USCG grant to improve boat safety, and many other builders and yards follow these guidelines, they wouldn't do so if it wasn't worth it".

I know many boat owners have had less than favorable experiences with ABYC-related survey issues. I sympathize, many of my clients say, when confronted with these revelations "But wait a minute, how could the builder have done that, isn't there a rule or law against using water hose for propane plumbing?" To which I answer, "Believe it or not, there's no law against it, in fact there are virtually no laws that govern recreational boat construction or repair. There are only voluntary guidelines". Once again, using the Standards in a vacuum, as knee-jerk compliance, in the absence of good judgement and real-world experience is a flawed formula. Standards should be used to back up experienced professional's beliefs, and the reason for a given standard should always be explained to boat owners (and builders) rather than simply saying, "That's what the rules say".

When I work with and consult for boat builders and yards, particularly those who aren't convinced of the value of ABYC compliance, I often say, "If you have a failure, one that could have been prevented with compliance, and someone is killed or injured, how will you feel, what will you say to them or their relatives, and what will the courts and insurance companies say when it's revealed you were aware of the Standards but chose not to follow them because you thought them unnecessary?"

Finally, yes ABYC and the Standards are flawed, and they are a monopoly (competition is always preferred, it always raises the bar), they aren't always executed or interpreted properly, and the powers that be don't always make the most logical decisions, however, they are very valuable, they are well-intentioned and they do have a net positive effect on boat construction, ownership, safety, reliability and cost.
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Old 01-25-2016, 09:39 AM   #66
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I sure wish someone would tell lending institutions, most surveyors, and insurers about what the ABYC is and is not. All it takes is one gun-ho surveyor to site some minor thing on a survey of an older boat that is out modern ABYC compliance to get the bank, the insurance company, and the buyer and seller into a tailspin that can completely derail a deal. Or at the least, create a ton of unnecessary email questions and costs to fix or explain what is and is not required. Something like metal shields under fuel filters is a prime example.
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Old 01-25-2016, 10:26 AM   #67
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Mr. TB. I agree with you fully BUT we are but small voices and good luck trying to convince your insurance company that your "surveyor" is less than correct. Unfortunately it would be a self defeating exercise if AYBC were to advertise to the general boating public that their suggestions held no weight in the law but what is the newbie to do when their "gung-ho" surveyor DOES cite a modern "requirement" necessary for compliance with the "law" and also necessary to be rectified for a potentially uneducated (boat-wise) insurance underwriter?
Mr. SD. "...and they do have a net positive effect on boat construction, ownership, safety, reliability and cost." Possibly but not necessarily on new boat construction but as mentioned, way, way too many industry "professionals" see rectification of non adherence to these suggestions as a way of increasing their profits. Again, the above mentioned metal shields under fuel filters.
Now, don't get me wrong. There MUST be some laws stringently applied across the board (safety gear, navigational lighting etc.) but there also MUST be some simple mechanism to rectify misapplication of AYBC propaganda.
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Old 01-25-2016, 01:14 PM   #68
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Originally Posted by Steve DAntonio View Post
Also, as an aside, your primary fuel filters are the automotive rather than UL marine or "MA" version (it was very common, fortunately now less so although not unheard of, for boat builders to use these filters), they lack heat shields and metallic drain valves. This is an easy retrofit and worth the trouble as it will provide the filter with the flame resistance recommended by UL and ABYC. This article explains the differences between MA and non-MA units Primary Fuel Filters | | PassageMaker

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However, the fuel filters (the Racors 900 FG I am assuming) met all U.S. required standards when it was manufactured back in 1988.

These the filters pictured in post #25?

Is the difference just the metallic heat shield and something about the drain? Is a retrofix as easy as installing a shield and new drain? Or maybe a new bowl with shield/drain already fitted?

Why would a builder have not used a marine version in this case? Would the different configuration have been particularly expensive? (Looks like maybe $5 difference, at least in 1988.)

-Chris
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Old 01-25-2016, 05:21 PM   #69
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Originally Posted by ranger42c View Post
These the filters pictured in post #25?

Is the difference just the metallic heat shield and something about the drain? Is a retrofix as easy as installing a shield and new drain? Or maybe a new bowl with shield/drain already fitted?

-Chris
Looks like the parts to convert a non-marine Racor are ~$60 from this supplier. Since I also have the older tan "truck" version of the filter I may want to think about upgrading them.

Marty...........................
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Old 01-25-2016, 05:30 PM   #70
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These the filters pictured in post #25?

Is the difference just the metallic heat shield and something about the drain? Is a retrofix as easy as installing a shield and new drain? Or maybe a new bowl with shield/drain already fitted?

Why would a builder have not used a marine version in this case? Would the different configuration have been particularly expensive? (Looks like maybe $5 difference, at least in 1988.)

-Chris
Because they didn't have to...not a requirement at the time...and from a higher up in Sea Ray to my ears..."we don't spend a dollar more than we have to, to make a sale."

Eventually they went fully to ABYC if I recall their stickers on the new boat windows.
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Old 01-25-2016, 06:02 PM   #71
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ABYC regulations vs guidelines...

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Old 01-26-2016, 07:49 AM   #72
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Regarding fuel filter ABYC/UL compliance, yes, the only difference is the heat shield and metallic drain. As noted earlier, the parts are comparatively inexpensive, readily available and relatively easy to install.

Retrofitting is an option for recreational vessels, however, it is not permitted on CG inspected vessels, as the filters have a serial number and in the event of a fire the CG would need to be able to recover the filter and determine if it was an MA version from the factory.

Why builders use the non-marine version is, in my experience, more often a matter of, "that's the way we've always done it" and availability where the vessel is manufactured, rather than a cost-saving measure, the difference in price isn't much.
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Old 01-26-2016, 08:27 AM   #73
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Looks like the parts to convert a non-marine Racor are ~$60 from this supplier. Since I also have the older tan "truck" version of the filter I may want to think about upgrading them.

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Because they didn't have to...not a requirement at the time...and from a higher up in Sea Ray to my ears..."we don't spend a dollar more than we have to, to make a sale."
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Regarding fuel filter ABYC/UL compliance, yes, the only difference is the heat shield and metallic drain. As noted earlier, the parts are comparatively inexpensive, readily available and relatively easy to install.

Why builders use the non-marine version is, in my experience, more often a matter of, "that's the way we've always done it" and availability where the vessel is manufactured, rather than a cost-saving measure, the difference in price isn't much.

Mmmm....

Ours are already the MA version, but last year I noticed Racor (now?) offers an optional (metal) drain valve -- as pictured in that article -- to replace the original drain nut, so I decided to do that at the beginning of this next season, anyway. More for convenience than anything else.

-Chris
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Old 01-26-2016, 08:46 AM   #74
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"All it takes is one gun-ho surveyor to site some minor thing on a survey of an older boat that is out modern ABYC compliance to get the bank, the insurance company, and the buyer and seller into a tailspin that can completely derail a deal.''

Many "surveyors" always attempt to find a number of "flaws" no matter how minor to show the purchaser how they "saved" him money.

Just as with tax firms , there are numerous results, you could have a boat surveyed 3 times and get 3 different "flaws' list.

There is no greater CAVIAT EMPTOR than a boat surveyor.

In Euroland its a different set of rules , but same surveyor caution.
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Old 01-26-2016, 03:30 PM   #75
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RT and Tom B, I agree with you. If ABYC wants us to adopt their standards, they need to make them public and allow the general public to have input. It is unfortunate that banks and insurance companies are drinking the ABYC Kool-Aid. Classic rules without representation. But then again anything to do with reducing money in ABYCs pocket they will oppose....


I wonder what would happen if there was some actual Congressional or State legislation to put ABYC into their place?
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Old 01-26-2016, 04:05 PM   #76
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Greetings,
Mr. ASD. The way governments work it would be just our luck that they make all the AYBC suggestions law then we'd be screwed worse than we already are.
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Old 01-26-2016, 05:55 PM   #77
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Well this thread kind of wondered a bit. I'll start a ABYC thread with a poll.
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Old 01-26-2016, 06:41 PM   #78
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My recollection was that back in the dark ages, safety of recreational boating was not regulated and insurance underwriters, alarmed by the increase in the value of paid losses as boats became more expensive, wanted to put standards in place to improve safety and cut down claims. They used their influence in Congress to effect change. Congress looked to their maritime arm to see what they can do and passed this request to the USCG. The USCG proposed that recreational boat manufacturers meet the same standards and regulations as commercial vessel manufacturers and that they (USCG) would be the inspectors of record. This created a huge uproar among the recreational vessel and part manufacturers who argued that meeting the federal regulations for commercial vessel would cause a huge increase in cost and therefore kill the market. After much debate it was agreed that an independent certifying authority would be created in which the manufacturers would have a voice in the certifying process. In the end the manufacturers won two major concessions. 1) the standards would be voluntary, not mandatory. 2) the largest voice on the standards would be the manufacturers. Thus ABYC was born. Although this was a somewhat public debate there was little input from the end user and a lot of the debate occurred behind closed doors. It was realized early on however that ABYC should not be a tame arm of their masters as this would be easily recognized and USCG would step in anyway. So they did real work and provided real data that would improve the safety of the manufactured product if and when used appropriately. The quality of their work product has improved continuously over the years.

I have dealt with USCG inspectors on commercial vessels for many years. If you think ABYC standards are onerous, you would absolutely cr*p you pants if you had to regularly undergo federally mandated USCG inspection.
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Old 01-27-2016, 01:20 AM   #79
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Because of thread drift I have started another thread on ABYC. Mod, please close this thread.
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