• Forum Contest

    Enter here, for a chance to win an Ultimate Boat Bar from Carabarlife!

  • UPDATED INFORMATION & ADVICE - PLEASE READ NOW

    'I didn't know/I wasn't told' will not be a valid defence if you fail to comply and lose your access to the off-topic area, core topic areas, or the entire YBW forum as a result. Full details can be found here, please read before you proceed.

Did I remember to turn off the gas?

jdc

Well-known member
Joined
1 Dec 2007
Messages
1,581
Location
Falmouth
At home after a fantastic few days sailing and I was lighting the gas hob to make a cup of coffee. A sudden thought: 'did I remember to turn off the gas on the boat?'

It then struck me as odd that I worry about turning off the boat's gas but happily leave the house's gas on all the time - I can't remember when I last turned it off. So why the difference between the marine and the domestic situation?

Gas explosions do occur in houses, between 26 and 41 per year according to the HSE - leat's call it 40 for simple arithmetic - but there are 27.8 million households, an unknown but quite high proportion with gas, say 20 million. Hence 1 explosion per 500,000 years per house.
To be avoided of course, but a small risk compared to quite a lost of things: my risk of dying from natural causes is about 1%, a 5000 x greater risk.

So are boats significantly more in danger of gas explosions than our homes are? Some possible factors:
- boats mostly have a bilge so escaped gas can 'collect' (but what if you've a cellar or basement in the house?)
- most homes use methane which its lighter than air rather than LPG (actually my house uses bottled propane)
- boat installations are so much flakier (are they? I have my doubts)

Or is it a hangover from earlier times and unnecessary today. Any ideas?
 

johnalison

Well-known member
Joined
14 Feb 2007
Messages
29,274
Location
Essex
Our gas can be turned off both at the cooker and at the regulator. It wouldn't be the end of the world if we left the boat with only the cooker tap closed and I think that if we remembered that we hadn't turned the regulator off as well I probably wouldn't consider it worth returning to the boat immediately. The cooker tap is always closed except when actually cooking.
 

neil_s

Well-known member
Joined
28 Oct 2002
Messages
1,146
Location
Chichester
A tip from PBO - cut a ribbon of red spinny cloth and secure the end inside your gas locker. When you switch on, drape the ribbon outside the locker as you put the lid back. When you open up to switch off - tuck the ribbon back inside. Red ribbon flapping about in the cockpit = gas ON.
 

pvb

Well-known member
Joined
16 May 2001
Messages
44,323
Location
UK East Coast
Our gas can be turned off both at the cooker and at the regulator. It wouldn't be the end of the world if we left the boat with only the cooker tap closed and I think that if we remembered that we hadn't turned the regulator off as well I probably wouldn't consider it worth returning to the boat immediately. The cooker tap is always closed except when actually cooking.
Quite right! I had a Hallberg-Rassy 352 with the gas bottle in the anchor locker, and a shut-off valve behind the cooker. I never bothered to turn off the gas at the regulator.
 

pvb

Well-known member
Joined
16 May 2001
Messages
44,323
Location
UK East Coast
At home after a fantastic few days sailing and I was lighting the gas hob to make a cup of coffee. A sudden thought: 'did I remember to turn off the gas on the boat?'

It then struck me as odd that I worry about turning off the boat's gas but happily leave the house's gas on all the time - I can't remember when I last turned it off. So why the difference between the marine and the domestic situation?
There's a strangely irrational fear of LPG in boats. As you say, you don't worry about it being left on at home. LPG explosions in boats are very rare, and are always the result of incompetence or carelessness.
 

rotrax

Well-known member
Joined
17 Dec 2010
Messages
12,995
Location
South Oxon, Littlehampton and Wellington, NZ.
Just completely overhauled our gas locker. New twin pipe regulator with switchover valve for the two bottles, new solenoid and new pipe all through.

We turn one bottle on and the solenoid turns the gas on or off to the cooker.

It is left on at the bottle/bottles as long as we are aboard, could be five months.

First Mate thought she smelt gas, bottle emptied too quickly, found the regulator was stuffed. Hence the overhaul 🙂
 

Gary Fox

Well-known member
Joined
31 Oct 2020
Messages
1,493
I think turning the gas on and off with neurotic anxiety, every time you put the kettle on, guarantees an explosion.
The cheap brass Chinese gas cocks will soon wear out and leak, which you will not be expecting because you Always Turn the Gas Off !
 

Gary Fox

Well-known member
Joined
31 Oct 2020
Messages
1,493
Just completely overhauled our gas locker. New twin pipe regulator with switchover valve for the two bottles, new solenoid and new pipe all through.

We turn one bottle on and the solenoid turns the gas on or off to the cooker.

It is left on at the bottle/bottles as long as we are aboard, could be five months.

First Mate thought she smelt gas, bottle emptied too quickly, found the regulator was stuffed. Hence the overhaul 🙂
A q. about the solenoid: Does it need 12v power to stay shut, or to stay open? Can you manually open it, to cook without leccy? If your batteries went from charged to flat, in your absence, would the solenoid do anything?
 

rotrax

Well-known member
Joined
17 Dec 2010
Messages
12,995
Location
South Oxon, Littlehampton and Wellington, NZ.
The solenoid is power to open, a spring bangs it shut when 12v is removed.

I carry a spare but if that goes too I can bypass it easily in a few minutes.

It happened once with a previous Island Packet, bypass WAS achieved, but First Mate was a bit thin lipped without her morning coffee :(
 

capnsensible

Well-known member
Joined
15 Mar 2007
Messages
31,203
Location
Atlantic
I think turning the gas on and off with neurotic anxiety, every time you put the kettle on, guarantees an explosion.
The cheap brass Chinese gas cocks will soon wear out and leak, which you will not be expecting because you Always Turn the Gas Off !
Use proper ones like are specified by the designers and builders. Hey presto! No worries about killing a boat over a few quid. 👍

Better still follow commercial practice and get the entire gas system periodically inspected and certified by a licensed gas engineer.

Like that would ever happen!
 
  • Like
Reactions: dom

Loddon

Well-known member
Joined
12 Dec 2006
Messages
1,348
Location
A far corner of Little England
I last used my caravan in June 2019 its been in storage since then. Went to check on it yesterday discovered I had forgotten to turn the gas off :eek: gas bottle still full so I know there are no leaks (y)

The gas system is getting inspected the week after next as part of a service.
 

Gary Fox

Well-known member
Joined
31 Oct 2020
Messages
1,493
Ever heard of an Origo exploding?:cool:
No but I have heard, or read, of a guy getting bad burns from a dramatic meths spillage on a small yacht. And I bet lots of little painful incidents go unreported. Come on fess up Origo fanboys, all of you have burnt yourself once or twice.
The flame is hard to see in sunlight and the little burner tanks need fiddling with frequently to fill them up. This must increase the risk because you do it relatively often.
Luckily it's easy put it out with water.
I am converting my cruising yacht to alcohol, not an Origo but a new German cooker from Toplicht, I have tried every other method, they all have their pros n cons.
 

Rappey

Well-known member
Joined
13 Dec 2019
Messages
2,922
Boats can be very damp, they move and can leak. Damp and leaks can lead to corrosion of the system and movement could lead to impact, all of which does not exist in a house.
Turning it off after every use does seem a little much.
If you have to keep turning it off then is the system suitable in the first place ?
 

crewman

Active member
Joined
30 Dec 2008
Messages
734
Location
Edinburgh
Domestic gas is methane which is lighter than air, lpg is heavier than air, butane being about twice as dense. Lpg will accumulate in poorly ventilated spaces such as a boat hull from even a small leak, whilst natural gas will usually dissipate with natural ventilation. It is not allowed to install domestic Lpg fuelled equipment in a basement.
 

Gary Fox

Well-known member
Joined
31 Oct 2020
Messages
1,493
Movement guarantees wear and fretting at the joints, so the closer the P-clips the better. And put double clips close either side of the cock and flexy pipe joint, in particular.
 

capnsensible

Well-known member
Joined
15 Mar 2007
Messages
31,203
Location
Atlantic
Do you get your diesel system periodically inspected and certified by a licensed engineer?
Obviously not. 🙄

You will note the use of the word 'commercial'. Sailing school yachts are required to have an annual gas inspection.

On some years, although this is beside the point, when I was getting my school yachts inspected, I would also get my liveaboard yacht done at the same time. This is about the suggestion that cheapo Chinese products can be used. But not if you do the job properly.

A friend of mine was aboard the sail traing vessel Lord Trenchard when there was a gas explosion on the boat and the skipper lost a leg.

Another friend of mine was killed in a gas explosion aboard a yacht in the Caribbean a few years ago.

I tend to take yacht gas installations a tad more seriously than most. I don't for one moment advocate mandatory inspection but use of common sense and if in doubt get a qualified person to help.

What do you recommend based on your experience?!
 
Top