7 January 2011
Owners of boats fitted with petrol inboard engines or under-floor fuel tanks must take extra care to prevent a holiday disaster.
Director, Transport Safety Regulation Brian Hemming said it’s crucial to play it safe on the River Murray this summer — and that includes ensuring your boat is safe too.
“I urge all boat owners to take extra care this summer when maintaining and operating their boats, especially when refuelling,” he said.
“The vast majority of recreational powerboats have outboard petrol engines that hang off the back of the vessel with a removable fuel tank.”
“But boats fitted with petrol inboard engines or under-floor fuel tanks are at greater risk of fire as the engine is on board the boat, making petrol vapour leaks highly dangerous.”
“The fact is petrol fumes are denser than air and can accumulate in a vessel’s bilge or in low parts of a cabin if not properly ventilated.”
“It’s important to note that petrol has a much lower flashpoint than diesel and petrol vapour ignites far more easily.”
“The fumes can easily explode if there are any ignition sources present, such as a naked flame or even an electrical spark.”
“Be safe and responsible — it only takes a few minutes to prevent a holiday disaster.”
Mr Hemming said the main risk is just after refuelling, however, fire or explosions can occur at other times and offers the following safety tips: