GB 36 propane locker update advice

The friendliest place on the web for anyone who enjoys boating.
If you have answers, please help by responding to the unanswered posts.

TrawlerDavid

Veteran Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2024
Messages
35
Great news. We completed the hull and engine survey, sea trial, and oil samples on the 1976 GB last week, and she is is in excellent shape mechanically. There are a number of maintenance and upgrade items but nothing unexpected, so I willl become the proud new owner next week and am very excited.
The survey noted that the propane tanks are under the port seat locker and vent into the area under the upper helm, and that the propane shut-off is the older manual valve in the ceiling that is prone to leaks. I just got an email from the underwriter requiring that the propane locker and system be upgraded as a condition of insurance, and I was going to address it anyway.
My initial thought would be to install a new propane locker where the tanks are now, and to replace the manual valve with a solenoid and control panel in the galley. Both of my prior sailboats had this set up and I liked it.
I'm seeking advice from other classic GB 36 owners who may have also updated their propane systems. Did you continue to use the port seat locker on the flybridge as the best place for the propane tanks, or is there a better location. Did you add a new fiberglass propane locker or continue to use the seat locker without that modification? How did you vent the locker ? Any other thoughts on how to make the propane system safe and user-friendly in the galley? Thanks, as always, for the courtesy of sharing your knowledge.
 
Sounds like an older boat. My 1991 GBC36 just has a tank in the port locker, held down. As it is vented outside the boat, no need to install a separate locker. I think all you need to do is to remove the old system and install an electric solenoid with wiring and a switch down over the oven. I would just rip it all out and put in new hose, etc. Pressurize and check carefully for any leaks.
 
Adding the solenoid is easy. Figuring how to vent the port locker is a bit more difficult. As I recall you can't vent over a window below that might be open. A stand alone Trident locker might be easier to install.
 
There are quite a few requirements when you are building a propane system. There have been some threads here with the specifics. I don’t know how good the search function in the new software here but in the old software it wasn’t very good so I would use Google to search TF. Also check Steve D’s website for any articles, he may have one on propane. The insurance company will want you to bring it into compliance with ABYC recommendations so you might search for those on the internet.
 
Every trawler or motor yacht with propane I've seen had the tank mounted up under the fly bridge, but I don't think it's possible to do that and be in compliance. There's more to it than venting overboard, the locker must be top loading and have only one door or lid. No putting the locker inside another locker. And there can't be any openings below the locker where gas could get into the boat. When I installed propane on my MY, I put the tank locker out on the swim step. Not as easy as the bridge, but the only safe place.
 
There is easy, there is cheap, and there is nice. You can only choose one when it comes to propane. I was able to locate my propane tank on the flybridge but in a location that was considered outside the boat. While this eliminated the need for a propane locker I custom built my own locker for aesthetic reasons and for the ability to vent far from any opening windows.
 
To be ABYC compliant the overboard vent has to be at the bottom of the propane locker because the gas is heavier than air. The lid must be top opening and with a rubber seal. Cannot vent within 15 inches of another intake to the boat. Along with a solenoid valve, install a pressure gauge at the tank. The hose run must be continuous with no breaks or splices. Must not have to reach over the stove to use the solenoid switch. No other equipment, gear, or junk stored with the propane tank/s in the locker.
 
Ours is under the port sittee on the flybridge. I am happy with the installation and venting as was the surveyor. However the bottom line is you need to satisfy your insurance company. Get an ABYC certified tech to advise you and make the necessary changes to be ABYC compliant. That should satisfy your insurance company and help you sleep well at night. It sounds like at this point it is up to the seller to foot the bill so you might as well take advantage of it.
 
To be ABYC compliant the overboard vent has to be at the bottom of the propane locker because the gas is heavier than air. The lid must be top opening and with a rubber seal. Cannot vent within 15 inches of another intake to the boat. Along with a solenoid valve, install a pressure gauge at the tank. The hose run must be continuous with no breaks or splices. Must not have to reach over the stove to use the solenoid switch. No other equipment, gear, or junk stored with the propane tank/s in the locker.
Thanks for the advice and summary. Those are the items I'll address in updating the system. My only question is what will be involved in removing the current manual valve in the ceiling for a continuous run of hose. If there is a solenoid at the tank and a pressure gauge, it may make sense to keep the valve open as the solenoid will be controlling the gas upstream. and when I leave the boat I can close both the solenoid and valve, which will provide additional safety.
 
If the manual valve is not inside the locker you'll have to remove it. Must be a continuous run from the tank locker to each device, stove, heater, etc. No valves, joints, or other breaks in the line allowed by ABYC. Any valves, tees, etc must be inside the locker. The only joint allowed is the connection at the device itself, except if solid piping like copper is used there must also be a flexible length of hose between the copper and the device. If more than one device each must have it's own dedicated line. So you control the gas flow with the solenoid valve alone and it's recommended you turn off the manual valve on the tank if you're not going to be using gas for awhile.
 
Last edited:
Thanks for the advice and summary. Those are the items I'll address in updating the system. My only question is what will be involved in removing the current manual valve in the ceiling for a continuous run of hose. If there is a solenoid at the tank and a pressure gauge, it may make sense to keep the valve open as the solenoid will be controlling the gas upstream. and when I leave the boat I can close both the solenoid and valve, which will provide additional safety.
You do not have to remove the manual valve. Simply disconnect and bypass it. Yes, it can still be used as a redundant valve but it's two potential leakage points.
 
You do not have to remove the manual valve. Simply disconnect and bypass it. Yes, it can still be used as a redundant valve but it's two potential leakage points.
This is only correct if your bypass line is unbroken from within the enclosure to the stove or device — see post #10.
 
My only question is what will be involved in removing the current manual valve in the ceiling for a continuous run of hose.
My GB42 has what seems to be the same arrangement as your boat. I believe it to be impossible to completely comply with ABYC guidelines due to the location of the locker vent (which in the GB42 opens to the bridge deck at aft of the port seat). Ideally, this locker could vent out of the port side of the coaming but, on the 42, this would be withing 15~inches of another opening (port side door).

However, taking the existing manual valve out of the circuit is easy. The inlet and outlet connections of this valve are both inside the port bridge seat locker. Simply disconnect the line of the outlet from the valve and connect directly from tank to solenoid to this line. You can leave the old valve in place in order not to have a hole in the deckhead (ceiling) above the sink..
 
My GB42 has what seems to be the same arrangement as your boat. I believe it to be impossible to completely comply with ABYC guidelines due to the location of the locker vent (which in the GB42 opens to the bridge deck at aft of the port seat). Ideally, this locker could vent out of the port side of the coaming but, on the 42, this would be withing 15~inches of another opening (port side door).

However, taking the existing manual valve out of the circuit is easy. The inlet and outlet connections of this valve are both inside the port bridge seat locker. Simply disconnect the line of the outlet from the valve and connect directly from tank to solenoid to this line. You can leave the old valve in place in order not to have a hole in the deckhead (ceiling) above the sink..
Thanks, Nick. I'm closing on the GB 36 next week and can then start my maintenance upgrades in earnest. I'll take your advice on the propane solenoid and the old valve. It sounds like you have the same valve on your GB 42.
 
I would get a surveyor that is good with propane systems and pay for a consultation to make sure it is complying with the ABYC recommendations since that is what your insurance company will want. If you modify the system and it still is out of compliance then you may void your insurance.
 
I would get a surveyor that is good with propane systems and pay for a consultation to make sure it is complying with the ABYC recommendations since that is what your insurance company will want. If you modify the system and it still is out of compliance then you may void your insurance.
+1
 
Good point, Comodave. You must close the loop with the surveyor.
 
Thanks for the advice. I'm working with an ABYC certified yard and will make sure the requirements are followed. The one that may be challenging is venting at least 20" away from the window as the GB windows extend the full length of the salon under the flybridge. I'm also adding a propane sniffer inside for safety.
 
In place of a solenoid switch I installed a mechanical timer similar to the one shown below. With this there is no risk of forgetting to shut-off the gas after use.
 

Attachments

  • Timer.png
    Timer.png
    159.8 KB · Views: 29
My 1988 42 has propane locker under seat with foamed closure to block previous vent connection to flybridge.
 
My 1988 42 has propane locker under seat with foamed closure to block previous vent connection to flybridge.
Thanks, Tim. I plan to do the same for the vent slots in my propane locker that connect with the flybridge. What did you do for the required vent at the bottom of the locker to the outside, where the ABYC guidelines say best to locate the vent at least 20" from any opening to the interior. The problem is the propane locker is right above the salon so a challenge to figure out how to locate the vent. Did you have the older manual shut-off valve in the ceiling above the galley, and did you replace that with a solenoid?
 
Thanks, Tim. I plan to do the same for the vent slots in my propane locker that connect with the flybridge. What did you do for the required vent at the bottom of the locker to the outside, where the ABYC guidelines say best to locate the vent at least 20" from any opening to the interior. The problem is the propane locker is right above the salon so a challenge to figure out how to locate the vent. Did you have the older manual shut-off valve in the ceiling above the galley, and did you replace that with a solenoid?
 
My 1988 42 classic had an electronic shut off installed nothing inside. I had an older 32 that had the manual interior valve.
Seat locker scuppers on front and back of the seat locker next to the outer wall served both as scuppers and locker vent. Since propane is heavier than air it would not go over the flybridge side until it rolled out the back well behind any open windows.
I agree with advice that if you install a new solenoid switch in the locker it should have a continuous hose to the stove by passing the manual valve. Why not keep the overhead valve if it is working?
 
My 1988 42 classic had an electronic shut off installed nothing inside. I had an older 32 that had the manual interior valve.
Seat locker scuppers on front and back of the seat locker next to the outer wall served both as scuppers and locker vent. Since propane is heavier than air it would not go over the flybridge side until it rolled out the back well behind any open windows.
I agree with advice that if you install a new solenoid switch in the locker it should have a continuous hose to the stove by passing the manual valve. Why not keep the overhead valve if it is working?
Thanks, Tim. That makes sense. I had planned to keep the overhead valve for a while, but the surveyor noted it and the insurance underwriter is requiring that it be replaced with a solenoid within 60 days, as he syas that these manual valves are notorious for leaking sooner or later.
 
My 1988 42 classic had an electronic shut off installed nothing inside. I had an older 32 that had the manual interior valve.
Seat locker scuppers on front and back of the seat locker next to the outer wall served both as scuppers and locker vent. Since propane is heavier than air it would not go over the flybridge side until it rolled out the back well behind any open windows.
I agree with advice that if you install a new solenoid switch in the locker it should have a continuous hose to the stove by passing the manual valve. Why not keep the overhead valve if it is working?
Closing the loop. The manual valve is in the locker between the tank regulator and the copper tube to the stove, so solution is to disconnect the manual valve, and replace in the same location with the solenoid with remote switch in the salon away from the range. The locker vent turns out to not be connected to the flybridge cowl, so not an issue. The locker has vents at the low point of the locker that serve as both propane and water vents and anyything coming out of the vent goes down the scuppers and over the cabin top where there are no windows that could allow access. Plan is to launch tomorrow, and move to new home on Wednesday.
 
Have you considered replacing the propane stove / oven with electric and doing away with propane altogether? By the time you spend the money and time to build and install a ABYC approved propane locker and delivery system, you could buy and install a pretty nice electric range or an induction cooktop and convection microwave
 
Have you considered replacing the propane stove / oven with electric and doing away with propane altogether? By the time you spend the money and time to build and install a ABYC approved propane locker and delivery system, you could buy and install a pretty nice electric range or an induction cooktop and convection microwave
Thanks for the suggestion. I don't have a generator , and the delivery system is in place other than the solenoid, so propane still the best option.
 
Back
Top Bottom