Propane safety for boats
Many boaters get a lot of use out of their boat’s propane system in cooler weather, but if not handled properly, propane can become a hazard. Do you know the basics of propane safety for boats?
Heavier than air, propane can run downhill into your bilge if it finds an opening in what should be a closed system. To prevent this, store propane tanks in an outside locker that’s vented at the bottom to let leaking gas escape overboard. When not using our stove, we close the valve on our propane tank. Propane stoves should be equipped with a solenoid switch, which displays a red light when open.
Operating your propane stove
Our standard operating procedure for lighting and shutting down the stove is simple and safe:
- Open the valve at the tank, watching for leaks.
- Turn on the breaker (12-volt system).
- Turn on the solenoid switch. A red light lets you know the valve is open.
- Crack open a port or hatch for ventilation, and light your burner or oven.
- When you are done, turn off the solenoid switch first: This is one of the most important safety steps. With the switch off, the burner should extinguish. This shows that the solenoid is functioning properly by shutting the safety valve that allows propane to the stove. Turn off the burner when it is no longer lit.
- Turn off the breaker, and close the tank valve.
To learn more about propane safety for boats, take the online Propane Systems on Your Boat seminar from America’s Boating Club.