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Old 08-05-2020, 11:03 AM   #1
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Incident at fuel dock

I was kneeling on the dock at the side of my boat filling it with gas. My wife was standing at the pump reading off 10 gallon intervals. A smaller runabout boat was behind us also filling with gas, but dad was on the boat filling with his small daughter standing in the bow. Grandfather was on the dock reading off the gallons while 6 year old grandson was running all over the place. The fuel dockhand had retreated to his hut.

When the small boat behind us finished filling the 6 year old boy ran over to the pump and pushed the button to retract the fuel hose. Only he pushed our button. The fuel hose was jerked out of my hand and sent fuel down the side of our boat, onto my forearms, in the water, and a bit on the dock. There would have been a lot less fuel sprayed if the retracting hose had not briefly tightened my grip on the nozzle trigger.

To say the whole thing was freaky would be a huge understatement. I notified the marina management. They will be doing some additional training of the dockhand. From now on my wife will guard the pump.

Itís a zoo out there.
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Old 08-05-2020, 11:06 AM   #2
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I was kneeling on the dock at the side of my boat filling it with gas. My wife was standing at the pump reading off 10 gallon intervals. A smaller runabout boat was behind us also filling with gas, but dad was on the boat filling with his small daughter standing in the bow. Grandfather was on the dock reading off the gallons while 6 year old grandson was running all over the place. The fuel dockhand had retreated to his hut.

When the small boat behind us finished filling the 6 year old boy ran over to the pump and pushed the button to retract the fuel hose. Only he pushed our button. The fuel hose was jerked out of my hand and sent fuel down the side of our boat, onto my forearms, in the water, and a bit on the dock. There would have been a lot less fuel sprayed if the retracting hose had not briefly tightened my grip on the nozzle trigger.

To say the whole thing was freaky would be a huge understatement. I notified the marina management. They will be doing some additional training of the dockhand. From now on my wife will guard the pump.

Itís a zoo out there.

There's a strong argument to WATCH KIDS. The dad was TOTALLY negligent and should know better. He, and the kid, deserve a stern scolding.
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Old 08-05-2020, 11:12 AM   #3
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Geez, just when you think you've got a handle on your list of things to do and watch for, you get to add a new one! "Unsupervised child retracts your fuel hose while you are fueling."

Glad it didn't end up worse, and good to hear that you spoke to the marina management and they will discuss with the attendant. Definitely not a time to retreat to your hut vs. letting the family know they needed to supervise their kid.
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Old 08-05-2020, 12:08 PM   #4
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Geez, just when you think you've got a handle on your list of things to do and watch for, you get to add a new one! "Unsupervised child retracts your fuel hose while you are fueling."

Glad it didn't end up worse, and good to hear that you spoke to the marina management and they will discuss with the attendant. Definitely not a time to retreat to your hut vs. letting the family know they needed to supervise their kid.
Absorbent pads? Check. Everyone off the boat? Check. All boat power off? Check. Protective gloves? Check. Covid mask? Check. Monitor fuel delivery? Check. Watch for children running around? Oh crap...I guess so...

Dad on the small boat had his fuel hose stretched over his boat to the fill port at the stern. Makes me shudder.

So yes, just when you thought you had the bases covered....
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Old 08-05-2020, 12:12 PM   #5
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Did the dad say anything?
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Old 08-05-2020, 12:46 PM   #6
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Did the dad say anything?
Both dad and grand dad apologized. They were mortified. I think they knew just how dangerous the situation was. And dad made the kid apologize.

Iím hoping dad learned a lesson.
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Old 08-05-2020, 12:47 PM   #7
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Did the dad say anything?
Good question. I also wonder what the parental attitude was.

One time I was walking down a public street when an unleashed black lab trotted out of someone's yard, walked neutrally over to me.... and took a big bite out of my calf (and pants leg)! I went bleeding up to the house and expected the owners to be worried about me, what might happen to their dog, etc. Nope, their blasť response was "Yeah, he does that sometimes." GEEZ.

PS: I see Haloo responded that the dad/grandad responded appropriately. Sounds like they will be more attentive in future, so that's good.
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Old 08-05-2020, 01:42 PM   #8
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Frosty, you should have gone to a walk-in medical clinic and have the bite treated. The medics will contact animal control to quarantine the dog plus enter the dog bite incident into the data base. I had this happen at work once, my job required us to get the bite treated. The next day animal control told me my bite was the third bite incident for that dog. The dog owner also excused it“ as the dog never does that”. This dog also had to be quarantined to check for rabies because it had not been treated annually.
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Old 08-05-2020, 01:52 PM   #9
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Thanks, HiDHo,

The dog bite was almost 20 years ago (but memorable). Coincidentally, I was also working at the time. I did go to the hospital to get it checked out. Of course I also knew where the dog lived, but I don't remember the details of if it had shots or if I had a waiting-to-see period. Didn't have to get rabies shots myself - I would certainly remember that.

The owners' "whatever" attitude still amazes me
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Old 08-06-2020, 06:45 AM   #10
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Thats scary. But at least gas will be easier to clean off your boat than diesel.
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Old 08-06-2020, 07:03 AM   #11
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That got me thinking. With all the self service automotive gas stations, I can't remember a recreational boating fuel dock that doesn't have an attendant controlling everything but putting the nozzle in your fill pipe. There are a couple of commercial fuel docks where I am just handed the keys to the pump. In a country full of self service automotive fueling, it seems odd that boat fueling is almost the opposite.

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Old 08-06-2020, 07:08 AM   #12
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That got me thinking. With all the self service automotive gas stations, I can't remember a recreational boating fuel dock that doesn't have an attendant controlling everything but putting the nozzle in your fill pipe. There are a couple of commercial fuel docks where I am just handed the keys to the pump. In a country full of self service automotive fueling, it seems odd that boat fueling is almost the opposite.

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Not in New Jersey. Its illegal to pump your own auto gas/diesel.
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Old 08-06-2020, 07:17 AM   #13
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Not in New Jersey. Its illegal to pump your own auto gas/diesel.
True, but I think that's more about jobs than safety (IMO). As one example, a few years ago in Oregon (used to be same as NJ), I requested to pump my own (into my RV because plastic outer fuel door is a bit fragile). The attendant said No, which was fine, but then went off on a "holier than though" rant about how it was for environmental reasons that required a professional, etc etc.

As he was telling me all this he "topped off" numerous times (fumes), and then pulled the pump handle straight out without rotating the nozzle up, thus spilling fuel all down the side of my RV and onto the ground.

(Not saying all are like this but since I don't get to pick 'em I just pay extra to fuel in NY or other surrounding state.)
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Old 08-06-2020, 07:43 AM   #14
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Not in New Jersey. Its illegal to pump your own auto gas/diesel.
Not always true for diesel, many places that have separate pumps for commercial and diesel islands are self service....at least in South Jersey....
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Old 08-06-2020, 08:52 AM   #15
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I could make a STRONG argument for better monitoring of kids. They can cause a BUNCH of problems very quick. We all have seen a bunch of stupid things.


We had a kid operating a 50ft boat in our Christmas parade and was all over the place including almost hitting the boat ahead of him, and shining the spot light in people's eyes. The dad was oblivious. That was the last year I participated in the boat parade. With stuff like that, who needs it. And worse, half of the boaters were drunker than I was......


I could go on with a lot more.


As for fueling, I could argue strongly to always do your own fueling regardless of what the dock hand or fueler says. Or, at the very least, stand right next to the guy to make sure he does it right.... doesn't spill, know when to stop, puts enough in, etc. (this is especially critical for airplanes).
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Old 08-06-2020, 09:13 AM   #16
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I always thought it was a liability thing if a marina fuel attendant filled a boat fuel tank up ?? They would be responsible for any fuel spill instead of you. Maybe only in Maryland but I've never had an attendant offer to fill, always handed the nozzle to me.

At least the dad stepped up and addressed the problem.
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Old 08-06-2020, 09:13 AM   #17
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True, but I think that's more about jobs than safety (IMO). As one example, a few years ago in Oregon (used to be same as NJ), I requested to pump my own (into my RV because plastic outer fuel door is a bit fragile). The attendant said No, which was fine, but then went off on a "holier than though" rant about how it was for environmental reasons that required a professional, etc etc.

As he was telling me all this he "topped off" numerous times (fumes), and then pulled the pump handle straight out without rotating the nozzle up, thus spilling fuel all down the side of my RV and onto the ground.

(Not saying all are like this but since I don't get to pick 'em I just pay extra to fuel in NY or other surrounding state.)

Professionals! practically every fuel person in Oregon looks like they are on meth! . Luckily for me they don't pump diesel or motorcycles.. I dont want those dirt bags anywhere near my stuff.
These laws have nothing to do with safety or enviro concerns.. its all about employing people not smart enough to do anything else. I always imagined the test to get hired was a wood block with a hole in it that the have to put in a round dowel.. complete this task and bingo.. your hired!
Most fuel docks here hand you the nozzle with a diaper and you do the rest, I figure they don't want to risk scratching a boat.

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Old 08-06-2020, 01:46 PM   #18
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...its all about employing people not smart enough to do anything else. I always imagined the test to get hired was a wood block with a hole in it that the have to put in a round dowel.. complete this task and bingo.. your hired!
Nope. I just walked up and applied for the job. Was hired on the spot. Worked that as a 2nd job for a year or so. It was kinda fun. No thinking required, got to meet a lot of people, sort-of outdoor work.

Obviously you never want to let a dock hand fuel your boat. The marina would most likely prefer not to accept the liability anyway. Just google "boat explosion" or "fuel dock explosion." Most times there's a recent example. And there's always putting the fuel into the wrong deck fitting - or even the rod holder!

I'm glad it all ended as well as it did. It could have been SO much worse!
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Old 08-06-2020, 06:41 PM   #19
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I'm sorry but apologies are hollow unless accompanied by action. If they didn't leap to help wash it off your boat and ask if any damage and do everything possible to remediate it, then the apology didn't happen. Furthermore, it's the responsibility of the marina to insure safe fueling. I would have definitely held them all accountable for their actions and lack of actions.

That said, the only way I know to avoid such is for one of you to be by the pump.
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Old 08-06-2020, 09:45 PM   #20
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True, but I think that's more about jobs than safety (IMO). As one example, a few years ago in Oregon (used to be same as NJ), I requested to pump my own (into my RV because plastic outer fuel door is a bit fragile). The attendant said No, which was fine, but then went off on a "holier than though" rant about how it was for environmental reasons that required a professional, etc etc.

As he was telling me all this he "topped off" numerous times (fumes), and then pulled the pump handle straight out without rotating the nozzle up, thus spilling fuel all down the side of my RV and onto the ground.

(Not saying all are like this but since I don't get to pick 'em I just pay extra to fuel in NY or other surrounding state.)

Yep, I had a guy in Oregon tell me he had to pump the fuel too . . . into my motorcycle. . . . I said, "Fine, but just so you know that paint job on the gas tank cost $1,200.00, and if you scratch it, or spill fuel on it, you've paying for it!" He thought for a second, looked at the fuel tank, looked at the office, and handed me the nozzle . . . . Smart kid.
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