Temperatures are rising (slowly on the west coast) and many people are ready to fuel up their boats and head for the water. Fuelling up your boat safely should be something that each and every captain should know how to do. Most of the below tips are just plain old common sense but there are a few more steps to take to ensure you are refuelling safely and minimising any potential risks.


1) Refer to your owner’s manual for fueling requirements and safety procedures

2) Make sure you choose the appropriate fuel grade for your boat’s engine

3) Fuels blended with above 10% ethanol can be harmful to your boat’s engine. Make sure you are using the proper fuel for your boat’s engine

4) Always remain at the pump while refuelling. When fueling up on the water, all passengers should disembark from the vessel during the refuelling process 

5) Avoid distractions while refuelling such as smartphones, eating, or tending to other matters while you are filling up

6) Do not top up the tank after the pump handle clicks off. This can overfill your tank and have fuel come out of your vent line making a spill. You can also turn your key to the on position and use the fuel gauge on the dash as a reference to know how close you are to full. 

7) Have a rag handy or use a paper towel to wipe up any excess fuel spill that may have occurred during fill up. When filling up on the water, be extra careful not to spill any fuel overboard.

8) Open any hatches and ports to vent out any potential fuel vapour. Get in the habit of checking engine compartment and bilge areas as part of your pre-trip check list

9) Switch on your boat’s blower for at least 4 mins to vent out any lingering fuel vapour before you start your engine

10) Ensure you have enough fuel to get you to and from your destination with fuel to spare. It can be very costly running your boat out of fuel on the water. 


Before launching your boat for the season, make sure you fill the boat up on land as gas prices tend to be cheaper than on the water at a marina. Marinas usually have Mid-Grade fuel at minimum. If you like putting supreme fuel in your boat, high-octane fuel is usually more common at a gas station on land rather than at a marina fuel station. Fueling up on land can definitely save you some money over the course of the summer. HERE  is a link to the Boaters Blue Pages showing on-water fuel stations on the west coast of BC. When you are getting ready to put your boat away for the season, fill your tank full and add the appropriate amount of stabilizer to the tank. This will ensure your fuel does not go bad and this will also eliminate the possibility of condensation forming in the tank due to air being present instead of fuel. 


Article by:

Joshua Tisch

DDM Group