Safe Fueling and Efficiency

Use Safe, Spill-proof Fueling Practices

  • Stanley the Striped Bass fueling a boatPrevent fires during fueling by shutting off motors, lights and electrical equipment. Extinguish cigarettes and any other sources of ignition.
  • Keep fuel-soaked absorbents away from sources of ignition. Close doors, hatches, ports, and entryways and turn off blowers.
  • Maintain nozzle contact with the fill pipe to prevent static spark and spills.
  • Do not rely on the automatic shut-off nozzle to prevent spills; they do not shut off in time.
  • Know the capacity of your tank and leave it at least 5% empty because fuel expands.
  • Hold an absorbent sheet under the nozzle to catch drips, and properly dispose of fuel-soaked absorbents as hazardous waste.

Fueling Build-in TanksA person fueling his boat from the dock

  • Fill tanks slowly to prevent overflows from the air vent. Avoid topping off the tank.
  • Attach a fuel spill container to cover the air vent and catch spills (if available).
  • Install a fuel-air separator in the air vent line to prevent spills or splash back.
  • When fueling, keep your hand at the air vent or listen - air gushes when the tank is nearly full.
  • At the end of boating season, leave the tank full to reduce corrosion and condensation. Add fuel stabilizer to prevent stale gas.

Fueling Outboard Engines

  • Fuel on land whenever possible.
  • Use funnels to fill portable tanks, or spill-proof portable containers, and keep fuel absorbents on hand to catch spills.
  • Prevent stale gas by leaving the fuel tank empty during long periods of inactivity.

Fuel Efficiency: Save the Environment and Money, Too

Saving fuel preserves the environment you love to boat in, protects the aquatic life that lives there, and reduces harmful emissions that contribute to global warming - all while keeping money in your pocket.

  • Check your propeller and keep the blades clean and in good condition. A damaged propeller is inefficient and will burn extra fuel.
  • Balance your load and try to keep your boat weight light to reduce the horsepower required to propel it.
  • Plan and map your trip to reduce unnecessary engine run time.
  • Use the tides and weather to your advantage. Avoid boating against the tides and wind; it takes more effort and fuel.
  • Take shorter, local cruises. California is full of beautiful areas that you can visit without traveling hundreds of miles.
  • Slow down and travel at moderate steady speeds; it's safer and will reduce fuel consumption.
  • Turn off your engine whenever you have to stop. Idling your engine for longer than a minute is worse for air quality than restarting the warm engine again.
  • Keep your hull clean. Perform regular hull maintenance to prevent hard marine growth that creates a rough hull and added underwater drag.
  • Keep your trailer and car tires properly inflated. Be sure not to overload your trailer or use one that is too small.

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