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Carrying a 5 gallon gas can on board-gctid822047

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    Carrying a 5 gallon gas can on board-gctid822047

    I am looking for opinions on the safety of carrying a 5 gallon plastic gas can on board a deck boat to use to extend range. I have heard on some forums that people say it is not worth the risk and others say it is fine. If your opinion is that it is not a risk, is it acceptable to put the gas can in a bag to contain any fumes that do escape the gas can? I would not be leaving the gas can on the boat in between outings.

    I know the Elements utilize the plastic gas cans as their fuel tank(s), so it seems that having them on board must be acceptable, but I also know there is a vent built into the storage area under the seat.

    FWIW from my experience as a Department of Navy firefighter, many years of boating and interaction with USCG folks, I would say definitely Don't put it in a bag to contain the fumes. with that said, I'm not sure what size your boat/motor are, but the questions I would ask are: how far would you expect to get out of five gallons, and whatever that distance is, is it really worth having it and the potential for accidental issues that could arise with it being onboard. don't know how you use the boat, but I never considered going beyond a half tank from the next gas pump was worth the fishing/cruise and having to call for a tow. But that part is definitely a personal choice.

    When I lived in the Keys, I would fill 5 gallon gas cans (plastic) and haul them home for my tractor in the back of my PU which was covered. By the time I got home in the summer, often one or two of the vent caps had popped and some fuel had leaked out, along with lots of vapors. The cans were secure in a rack and tray (just to keep spillage contained). That kept me from wanting to carry them onboard my Cobia Coastal 226 deck boat.

    Stay safe.....
    2004 Monterey 282 Cruiser
    Twin Volvo Penta 5.0GXi-E
    SX-M 1.6gr Outdrives
    Docks @ Punta Gorda, Florida


      If they are not over filled and stored properly onboard, and you can fill the main tank with no chance of spillage, there is no problem.

      its when people try to over fill the can, which then does not have enough room for expansion, and causes spillage when refueling, AND thay have no good place to store the cans onboard, then it is a problem and is dangerous.

      the only real difference between a plastic "jerry" can and an outboard motor tank, is the way the fuel is delivered to the system... and ive seen as more dangerous spills inside the boat from people not knowing how to properly change the hose from one outboard tank to the other than I have seen spills from people pouring a jerry can full of gas into their tank....

      I had an old 1972 25ft bayliner with a volvo AQ-170, and dual 30 gallon tanks, that we regularly ran offshore 60-80 miles for tuna and halibut, and we had to carry extra gas in jerry cans (6 of them).... and never a spill, fire or other accident in the 6 year span we did that.... and even when refueling in sometimes questionable sea conditions while standing on the dive platform (custom oversized swim platform) to pour the fuel in.... "questionable" as in we sometimes questioned whether we should actually be out there in those conditions.

      Safety in anything you do, is more a factor of your experience level, rather than a factor of someone else's opinion.. so be aware of the risks, learn well as you move forward cautiously.. and live longer!

      Salem, OR

      1989 Bayliner 2556 Convertible
      5.7 OMC Cobra - 15.5x11 prop
      N2K equipped throughout..
      2014 Ram 3500 crew cab, 6.7 Cummins
      2007 M-3705 SLC weekend warrior, 5th wheel
      '04 Polaris Sportsman 700 -- '05 Polaris Sportsman 500 HO
      Heavy Equipment Repair and Specialty Welding (RETIRED)


        Definitely no bag, ventilation is crucial. I carried a 5 gal. can on my swimstep on a remote lake, but I don't think I would again. Proper planning is much better, 1/3 out, 1/3 back, 1/3 reserve. Or going to a destination, try to keep it half full, as previously mentioned.
        Jeff & Tara (And Hobie too)
        Lake Havasu City, AZ
        Current: 2022 Sun Tracker Sport Fish 22 XP3 w/ Mercury 200
        2000 Bayliner 3388 Cummins 4bta 250s (SOLD 2020)
        2000 Bayliner 2858 MCM 7.4 MPI B3 (SOLD 2018)
        2007 Bayliner 305 MCM twin 350 Mag B3s (SOLD 2012)
        2008 Bayliner 289 MCM 350 Mag Sea Core B3 (SOLD 2009)
        And 13 others...
        In memory of Shadow (7-2-10,) and Ginger (5-11-21.)
        Best boat dogs ever! Rest in peace girls...


          Not sure how big your "deck boat" is, but for space I wouldn't carry a fuel can on my 21' cuddy even though the 33 gallon tank limits my cruising range. Filling also would be a chore and a likely spill risk. Not sure where you are boating, but a priority for me has been learning where every fuel dock is located in my operating area and doing the research to learn where they are if I'm planning on going somewhere I've not cruised before. The 1/3 rule quoted by Jeff is the best way to operate. And knowing fuel consumption rate for your boat under a variety of conditions.

          My rule of thumb is to almost always stop to top off if I'm below a 1/4 tank and I'm passing close to a fuel dock, which by that I mean it won't take me more than 15-20 minutes to pull into the dock, fuel, and be underway again. If where I'm going takes half a tank, I'll plan a fuel stop.
          "Our Dream" -- 2015 21' Bayliner 642, 4.3 MPI Mercruiser

          "Now and then we had a hope that if we lived and were good, God would permit us to be pirates." Mark Twain


            Another thing to keep in consideration is there are a lot of lakes that do not let you refill while you are out on the water. You have to pull your boat/jet ski out if you want to refill. This is because it is almost impossible to refill from a jerrycan without spilling.
            Huntington Beach, California
            2018 Element 16
            Currently looking for 32xx in South Florida
            Former Bayliners: 3218, 2859, 2252, 1952


              Thanks for all of the information, that helps.


                "Jeffw" post=822064 wrote:
                Definitely no bag, ventilation is crucial. I carried a 5 gal. can on my swimstep on a remote lake, but I don't think I would again. Proper planning is much better, 1/3 out, 1/3 back, 1/3 reserve. Or going to a destination, try to keep it half full, as previously mentioned.
                +1 on the swimstep.

                On my previous boat I used to carry a 2.5 gal gas can on the swimstep to refill the tank on my dinghy.
                1999 3788, Cummins 270 "Freedom"
                2013 Boston Whaler 130 SS
                Anacortes, WA
                Isla Verde, PR


                  I've wanted to take a trip up the Ohio River about 20-30 miles past my max range for years. I would need at least two 5 gallon containers. I've decided not to try it, Although I've thought about it every year. Doesn't give me any reserve to speak of, anyway, and fire is a nightmare on a boat, especially if it's spill-fed, since you may not be able to escape it.

                  My advice: not worth it.
                  Bayliner 195 Bowrider 2013 4.3l 220hp MPI
                  Alpha 1, Gen II
                  2019 F-150 3.0l Powerstroke Crew Cab 4WD
                  Albany, Ohio

                  MMSI: 338234042

                  King of retirement. Finally got that last promotion.


                    Stow above decks somewhere, it will be in the way but if you need the fuel you need the fuel. Keep the lid on it. Keep it full until you can empty it. The vapors will build up pressure if the can is partially filled as the day warms up, if full you won't have as much vapor trying to expand.

                    If you have a swim step or something that is best especially in an OB where the boat probably does not have a blower installed in the bilge.
                    1999 Sandpiper Pilothouse - Current
                    1989 3888 - 2011-2019, 1985 Contessa - 2005-2011, 1986 21' Trophy 1998-2005
                    Nobody gets out alive.


                      Not going to say yay or nay on carry a jug or two, but do want to point out that in many areas the new gas jugs do not have a separate vent cap any more. They have a spout that is actually more difficult to spill fuel from. As a matter of fact some people don't like the new jugs because it is difficult to get the fuel to flow out of the spout and into the tank. Recently I had to fuel my diesel boat by 5 gallon jugs. I put the spout through an adsorbent pad to catch any drips. I had no drips. It took a long while for the jug to empty. I tied a rope to a hand rail and then through the handle of the jug to help steady it. Worked OK but was a slow way to add 40 gallons of fuel.

                      Newport, Oregon
                      South Beach Marina
                      1986 3270 with twin 110 HP Hino diesels. Name of boat "Mr. Darcy"
                      Past work history: Prototyping, tooling, and repair for Reinell,. General fiberglass boat repair starting in 1976.
                      Also worked as heavy equipment mechanic, and machinery mechanic for over 30 years.


                        "green650" post=822071 wrote:
                        Another thing to keep in consideration is there are a lot of lakes that do not let you refill while you are out on the water.
                        Really? What lakes? What a PITA. It's been many years since I did any boating in lake country......

                        .....for the first 25 years of my life most of my boating was done on small OB boats that used one or two portable six gallon tanks that were stored in an unventilated (or poorly ventilated) storage area under the rear seat, with direct access to the bilge, and usually a vinyl or canvas cover that snapped to conceal the fuel tanks (Glastron, Winner, Marquis, Renken, to name a few brands) bilge blowers, IIRC. I wonder if the explosion stats were higher back then.....


                          I ALSO HAVE A DECK BOAT AND FREQUENTLY BOAT ON LAKE POWELL WHERE YOU MAY BE MANY MILES FROM A FUEL SOURCE. I carry extra fuel in 5 gallon cans strapped on the nose. I carry as many as 10 5 gallon cans which we use for refueling our wave runners and the boat which is used for wake boarding, skiing , tubing , sightseeing, etc. Almost every boat we encounter on lake Powell does the same. ...carries extra fuel.

                          We have also carried extra fuel on the houseboat.

                          We use standard 5 gallon cans, never over fill. strap them firmly in place, monitor...and have never had a problem.

                          Since my deck boat only holds 40 gallons, this greatly extends our range and play time on the toys.

                          Be safe.


                            We carry a 5 gallon can (plastic) as a reserve for our no fuel gage having Element XL. I secure it with bungee straps. Ours was not equipped with the factory 2 tank option so all I have is the removable 12 gal. There is ample space inside the vented fuel tank compartment for another 12 gal in front of the standard one (you 18' Element guys will know what I mean) and I consider this no greater risk than the OEM tank itself.


                              Best way to fill out of those cans by far is with one of those self priming siphon hoses. They have a brass end with a marble in it and you jerk it up and down to get it going. You can fill it right off the swim step on mine which is how I've moved all my boat gas for years. With that rig you won't spill a drop or have to screw around with vents and useless spouts designed by bureaucrat.:angry: :angry: :

                              They are about $8 at @ Lowes. HD and elsewhere. When the hose gets stiff down the road cut it off and replace with 6' of PVC clear hose from the hardware store. Use the web reinforced stuff it lasts longer. The hose will drain a can in about 2 minutes . If you tip it up towards the corner when it's getting empty it will only leave an ounce or two behind in the can

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