Most boat owners and operators are familiar with tying up to the fuel dock, grabbing the nozzle of choice and dispensing what is typically a large amount of fuel with the assumption of a great days fishing or just plain work. Beyond that there is not much more thought given to the fuel and the fuel system. This could stem from our land habit of fueling our cars, but remember a boat is not a car. The ocean, river or lake environment is harsh on our fuel and this is where adding marine fuel additives should be considered.
Water, the stuff we love to play on unfortunately is present in our fuel. Even a small amount of moisture in the fuel can cause issues such as corrosion, biological growth and even engine destruction. Products available to mitigate moisture, fuel separation and growth are marketed as fuel stabilizers, fuel treatments, fuel conditioners and are available for gasoline or diesel.
Many of us aren’t fortunate enough to use our boats constantly and this leads to fuel sitting in our tanks for a while. Fuel is not a one component liquid and is manufactured in a blending process especially for gasoline. The blending products in the fuel if left undisturbed will separate, the heavier will sink to the bottom, the lighter will float to the top and the volatile organic compounds will evaporate away. What is left after time is not what was purchased and will not perform as expected. Diesel is by no means immune to gremlins accumulating from sitting to long. This is where Fuel stabilizers from STA-BIL
, Sierra / Seastar Solutions
and Power Research
. come into play. These products reduce the separation rate and could also offer other advantages such as added lubrication or even removing moisture.
Fuel contamination can occur from many sources and the best a captain can do is maintain the vessels fuel system. This includes the fuel fill cap, the fuel vent
, the hoses and lines. Fuel caps
, often flush with the deck contain an O-ring
that is often overlooked, or the tank vent / flame arrestors integrity is compromised Perko Gas Tank Vent. The fuel fill hose might be dated, cracked and deteriorated and adding to the contamination. Replacement fuel hose
is readily available from Shields Marine
, Parker Hannifin
. A sure way to see and monitor fuel contamination is by installing a quality fuel filter / water separator
combination preferably with a clear bowl by Racor (Parker / Hannifin) or Sierra / Seastar Solutions. Keeping the system in good condition is a step in the right direction in preventing fuel contamination from ruining a good day on the water.
If fuel contamination is suspected, fuel treatments could offer a solution depending on the severity on the contamination. Fuel treatment products often coagulate, loosen or disperse the contaminate allowing it to move freely within the fuel where it can end up in the filter and causing a secondary problem. Go2Marine offers a comprehensive selection of aftermarket and OEM replacement fuel filters
and having a spare or two on hand when required makes for a happy day.
Severe fuel contamination can happen even to the most prudent sailor and no amount of additives or treatments can mitigate this problem. This is usually a case for invasive surgery and could require cutting an access hole or two into the fuel tank to wash the tank out or it might be more economical to replace the tank with new. Go2Marine offers a comprehensive selection of replacement options such as flexible tanks by Nauta
, or a solid polyethylene fuel tank