• Boat Gas System Checks

  • When Was The Last Time You Had Your Boat Gas System Checked?

    If you own a boat then you know how expensive it can be to keep it on the water,

    what with the mooring fees, insurances as well as the fuel charges.

    The upkeep of any boat is very expensive.

    So when was the last time you had the boat gas system checked?

    When you think about it, LPG (Liquid petroleum gas) is probably the most dangerous substance you have on your boat,

    and yet you will spend more money on cleaning, painting the hull and servicing the engine than you will on your boat gas system.

    Boats are not like cars they tend to stay around a lot longer and as such will have old outdated even dangerous gas appliances fitted that have never been checked over.

    Your boat gas system should at least be checked once a year by a Gas safe registered boat engineer.

    Any faults or problems will be brought to your attention and can then be addressed.

    Your boat gas system checks that you can do yourself

    Depending on what gas appliances are installed on your boat, always make sure they are burning with a nice clean flame when in operation.

    Keep the appliance clean, if you notice any dust or dirt on or around the appliance burner switch it off straight away,

    let it cool down, then give it a good clean.

    The gas bottle locker should have a drain hole that discharges out over the side of the boat and not into the hull,

    make sure the drain is clear and not blocked up.

    Get a bucket of water and flush it through just to make sure it is running freely.

    LPG is a heavy gas, and as such will fall to a low level, this is why the drain needs to be clear.

    While at the gas bottle locker, pay attention to the gas hose, make sure it does not have any scuffs or cracks,

    it will have a date stamp on it, check the date, they should be changed every 5 years for safety.

    I bet yours is over 5 years old.

    Hob

    The gas hob is probably the most used appliance on the boat, used for making the coffee.

    The burner rings tend to get blocked up after a while.

    If you notice the flame is a little high on one side and lower on the other, then switch it off, let it cool then give it a good clean out.

    Isolation Valves

    All modern boats will have gas isolation valves fitted to every appliance,

    on older boats these may not be fitted, make sure they are all working correctly,

    light the appliance then turn the isolation valve off.

    If the appliance switches off, then the valve is still working OK.

    The reason you need to check all appliances and isolation valves is corrosion,

    the same reason you clean the hull, over the course of the season you get a build up on the hull, it’s the same for your gas appliances and valves.

    Gas Bottles

    When it’s time to change over the gas bottle, make sure you have the correct spanner for the job, it will make it so much easier.

    Before you start make sure all gas appliances are switched off, the same goes for the bottle. Close all windows or openings on the boat, you don’t want any gas leakage going inside.

    Now change the bottle over, making sure you tighten the connection on the new bottle.

    Open the bottle isolation valve slowly, once open go to the appliance that is furthest away.

    You now need to purge the gas through, you do this by turning the appliance on,

    make sure the spark generator is working, if not, some form of permanent ignition is needed to ignite the gas.

    The ignition part is very important; you don’t want any gas escaping so as soon as you switch on the gas make sure the igniter is working.

    You then do the same with the next appliance and so on.

    Insurance

    Most boat insurance companies will require you to have an annual boat gas system check carried out before they will insure your boat.

    They want to know that the boat they are insuring is gas safe.

    Most marinas also require that any boat with gas onboard, have an annual gas system safety check.

    They will also want to see a copy of the gas safety certificate to keep in their files.

    General Gas Safety

    As with anything that uses gas, safety must always come first.

    If you have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors fitted, check they are working by pressing the test button on every visit to your boat.

    Should you find that it’s not working, either change the batteries or replace it.

    Never ever block up any ventilation grills that may be fitted to your boat, they are fitted for a reason and as such could be fatal if blocked off.

    they are fitted for a reason and as such could be fatal if blocked off.

    If you ever change any appliance or gas fittings always have it checked to make sure you and your boat are safe, yes it will cost you, but surely safety has no price.

    yes, it will cost you, but surely safety has no price.

    How to find a boat Gas Safe engineer

    If you have access to the internet, do a search for the gas safe register.

    Follow the link to the site, once on the site you can enter details of what type of registered engineer you want.

    My advice would be to contact them by phone, you will see the contact number on the contact page.

    The reason I say contact them by phone, you can explain exactly what type of engineer you need for your work.

    Someone who is gas safe registered may only be registered for fires on natural gas,

    and as such cannot work on your boat gas system.

    Being gas safe registered is a bit complicated as

    there are many different categories’ to choose from.

    Each category will have an exam the engineer has to pass to be able to work in that category.

    Just because the engineer is registered to work on natural gas,

    it does not mean he can work on LPG and boats, he must be registered for LPG and boats.

    Always be safe and have fun on your boat.

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