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Statistics from boat insurance losses point out that most boat fires are related to fueling mishaps. Here are some safety tips to follow when fueling.

1. Before refueling, shut off all engines including generators and extinguish all fires including cigarettes and cooking fires.

2. Close and secure all hatches and ports. A draft could fill the cabin or storage area with fumes.

3. Make sure your vessel is moored securely.

4. Make sure vessels close by will not be starting their engines while you are fueling and their operators are aware you are fueling.

5. If fueling removable tanks, set them on the dock or shore before filling.

6. When filling built-in tanks, always place the nozzle in contact with the filler. This action will ground any static created in the fill lines.

7. Use caution filling. Do not fill so fast that fuel could splash out of the filler pipe or overflow when full.

8. When fueling is completed, be sure the pump is turned off. When returning the hose to the pump, use caution not to spill the fuel in the hose.

9. Open all hatches and ports. Turn blower on for a full five minutes.

10. Before starting engine, check to be sure all fumes are cleared below decks. Open the hatches and sniff below in inboard engine areas. If you smell fumes, locate and correct any problems immediately and continue to run the blower to remove all fumes.

FUEL SYSTEM CHECKLIST

Check the following during pre-launch preparations or while in dry dock.

1. Check the fuel tank. Plastic and aluminum tanks should be checked for cracks and possible rub spots caused by vibration. Steel and galvanized tanks should also be checked for rub areas as well as signs of rust or corrosion. All fuel tanks should be checked around fittings and gauge areas for signs of leaks or corrosion.

2. Check fuel lines for loose connections or rub spots from vibration. Check hose clamps and hoses at clamp area for cracks.

3. Check filler hose between deck fittings and tanks. Make sure a good ground wire is connected between filler deck fitting and fuel tank.

4. Check vent hose for blockage as well as cracks. Make sure vent is located where any escaping fuel or fumes will be overboard, clear of air vent intakes.

5. If your filler, vent or fuel lines are soft, bulging or have rubbed areas, replace them.

6. Use new clamps when replacing any line carrying fuel. Be sure to obtain items “Approved for marine use.” Always support lines to avoid chafing from vibration.

A few extra minutes spent may avoid a disaster and save a life.

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