On the afternoon of August 5th, a 45′ gas powered wooden boat exploded shortly after leaving the dock. The concussion broke windows throughout the marina. A child was thrown into the water. The owner of the boat was burned and hospitalized. The boat quickly sunk. This accident is being investigated by the Canadian authorities and could have been much worse. The dock staff worked professionally and efficiently in a difficult situation.
Operations are back to normal at the fuel dock.
The aftermath of the explosion
This is a good opportunity to recognize how quickly things can go wrong on the water.
Tom Taylor, a former fuel dock owner, passed along some useful fuelinginformation.
- Be sure your vent line does not have a valley in it that will collect fuel or other obstructions. It should go straight up hill from the tank to way above the vent opening and straight back down hill to the vent opening. That way anything that gets in the vent will drain out and the line can carry the air out during fueling. You want the high loop above the vent opening so that sea water can’t get in your fuel through the vent line in a rough sea. Go up under the deck a good foot or so, then back down to the vent opening.
- When fuel guage senders leak, or vent lines come loose, or any of a myriad of other occurrences, the only way to find them is to look. Raise a hatch and look. Smell the bilges. Often it is only during fueling that these leaks come up. Five minutes of blowing does nothing meaningful if there is a leak.
- Tanks are being worked very hard during fueling. Fill hoses come off; vent lines get plugged and come off; tank bottoms let go from the pressure. If you are fueling fast, a lot of air pressure builds up in the tank because usually the vent lines are too small to keep up with the fast fuel pumps. The air must get out as fast as the fuel comes in. Raise a hatch after fueling and take a look and a sniff, then turn on your blower.