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Old 09-25-2018, 06:56 AM   #1
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Country: Australia
Vessel Name: Liberty
Vessel Model: 57 foot Halvorsen
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Fuel Bladders


wondering if anyone has had experience with purchasing, carrying , and using Fuel Bladders above deck on vessels.

We are planning on taking Liberty from Australia across to New Caledonia ( 880 nautical miles) next May for a few months and although on paper we have more than sufficent fuel to do the crossing ( 6,500 litres) I am considering carrying say two bladders of 500 litres each to provide additional security , if for some we were to ruptre one of our 6 existing tanks , and also to know once we get there if not used we have another 1,000 litres of clean fuel.

I am interested in any experiences people have had with them, suggested brand types to purchase, best way to secure them, and most importantly how best to tranfer the fuel whilst at sea.

looking forward to any advice.

regards Chris D Liberty

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Old 09-25-2018, 09:18 AM   #2
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Yea, that 'on paper' can come back and bite you in the butt.
Per the bladder, I think you have a greater chance of a ruptured bladder than a tank.
You might want to contact someone who polishes fuel for advice and maybe rentals.

IF you opt for bladders, I suggest you top off the tanks once a day from the bladders. Storing full bladders on the upper deck might make it a bit top heavy and affecting the stability of the boat during "weather."

Did Noah have a get home-engine?
Which weather app did Noah and Columbus use?
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Old 09-25-2018, 10:29 AM   #3
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I sold bladder tanks for many years. I think mostly to drug smugglers.
I recommend tanks made by Aero Tec Laboratories. Theyíve been making bladder tanks almost fifty years.

The only problem Iíve ever heard of was when a sport fish boat had one on itís foredeck and it got loose. Took out the bow rail and ended up floating in the water.
Parks Masterson
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Old 09-25-2018, 10:59 AM   #4
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Fuel Bladders

I have used ATL diesel fuel bladders with a big success in my old boat we sold a couple years ago.

I used two - 150 Gallon sized for each one & put them, one in each back side corner of my engine room. ( Single engine 46 footer)

They have securing kits available to hold them in place & an under piece for anti Chafe protection for the bottom.

There is a fitting right on the bladder with a valve for a fuel line to hook to & it was an easy plumbing job to put them in to our fuel system. Easy to fill & easy to use. two different types & many different sizes depending on your needs.

Here is link:

Worked like a champ.

Pricing seemed good to me.

Good Luck.

Alfa Mike
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Old 09-25-2018, 11:01 AM   #5
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I bought a 50 gal Aero Tek a few years ago to use on our Express Cruiser to get more range to go offshore, but never ended up using it. The kit provides the needed gear to transfer fuel, and lash it down. Most people use gravity to fill their tanks with the provided tubing. If for some reason your bladder is lower than the tanks, I suppose you will need a way to get a suction going, or a pump. As noted, a lot of sport fishers use them, so if you google other sites you will probably find more info and can get direct feed back on lashing them down and how they fed their tanks while at sea. MV Dirona, the guy who crosses oceans, also talks about the subject on his website I believe.
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Old 09-25-2018, 11:02 AM   #6
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For my last trip to Baja I looked into using bladders. What I ended up doing was buying food-grade 12 gal containers on Craig's List. They were easy to handle and to secure in the cockpit. I used one of those drill-powered pumps to transfer fuel to my main tanks. Worked a treat.

Good luck, Bill
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Old 09-25-2018, 11:15 AM   #7
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I know several people who have used them. Secure them well, and locate as low as possible to have less impact on stability. And DO NOT empty them a little bit at a time. Do it all at once. As soon at they are less than full they become unstable and will slosh around. Everyone I know has run on their regular tanks until there is space to empty the bladders, then they empty the bladders right away.

I also know two people who have used Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBC) for extra fuel. They have bought them locally used, then resold on arrival at their destination. They are very inexpensive, rugged, and resellable. The only catch is that you need to have enough space on deck for one (or more).
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Old 09-25-2018, 11:27 AM   #8
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The Dirona blog has several posts about using bladders that might be of interest. was what they did to get from the west coast of the US to Hawaii.

This link talks about a problem in a storm crossing the Atlantic from the US to Ireland,

Another link talking about crossing the Indian ocean with bladders.

I believe there are more posts on their site but those should get you started.

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Old 09-25-2018, 11:30 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by twistedtree View Post
I also know two people who have used Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBC) for extra fuel. They have bought them locally used, then resold on arrival at their destination. They are very inexpensive, rugged, and resellable. The only catch is that you need to have enough space on deck for one (or more).
Yes, like Star. An IBC can be easily blocked and lashed down in a cockpit of suitable dimensions. In most vessels the lazarette provides the ability to support the deck from underneath if any deck weight bearing concerns.

Or do as in some lesser privileged countries and carry a few 55 gallon drums.
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Old 09-25-2018, 11:59 AM   #10
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Fuel Bladders

Snips! Already covered by Dan, above.

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Old 09-25-2018, 01:13 PM   #11
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Lot of bladders were used in tuna boats for extended range. Usually in the hold before fishing. Once empty, they could be rolled up and stored away. I also used 55 gallon plastic drums once empty stored on deck.
You need to be sure of stability when storing fuel on deck. Bladders don't have baffles so if not full you get the free surface affect when the fuel moves. Many boats have capsized because of it.
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Old 09-25-2018, 03:11 PM   #12
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partially full bladder problems

You need to be careful to use enough fuel from your tanks before you top them off with the bladder. Bladders can get quite rolly with free surface problems if you have them partially filled.

Make sure they are tied down securely. If you put them on your cockpit, you may not be able to access the lazarette via the cockpit until you empty the bladder.

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