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Old 12-03-2008
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diesel fuel

Simple questions as I am new to boat ownership. Is the diesel fuel I buy at the fuel dock essentially the same I can buy at the gas station? I would like to be able to top off the tank on the boat without having to motor/sail the 5 miles to the nearest fuel dock.

And, is there a recommended stabilizer that should be put in diesel tanks (both on the boat and container at the house/dock)? I do know about the organicide, which I already use.
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Old 12-03-2008
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Yes, the fuel is essentially the same, but many marinas will have policies against re-fueling boats via jerry cans of fuel.
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Old 12-03-2008
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I agree with SD regarding the fuels being essentially the same. However, it should be noted that the boat diesel is died (red) for "off-road" use. So, while you can put highway diesel in a boat, it can't go the other way legally. The ultra low sulfur diesel sold now is said to have some less lubricity as it also contains less paraffin. My boat is not diesel but my car and truck are. I like to run a lubricity enhancer in my diesels. I like Stanadyne but it can be hard to find in some areas. There are several others also. I know the fuel has to meet certain standards and some will probably argue that it isn't necessary. However, injector pumps and rebuilds are high dollar and always mean down-time. Just my opinion FWIW.

Richard
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Diesel fuel

SD,
Thanks, the boat is at the dock at the house, so no one will be monitoring how I fuel the boat. Although, what you say suggests that I could not expect to fill up a can at a marine dock, like I can at a gas station.

Richard,
Thanks, I am not sure how I would determine if I need the additive you suggest, but I am only looking to top off the tank with a couple of gallons of fuel in a 25 gallon tank.

I prefer to motor in and out of the creek we are on and I don't use that much fuel per trip. But, we are away from the house and boat for a month or more at a time and I would like to leave the tank topped off and not have to travel the 5 miles, to the nearest fuel dock, just to top it off (I use more fuel in the that trip than I do over the whole week at a time that we are down there!).
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If you decide to use an additive, you could probably just mix it in your can that you use to top off the boat. It would be a bit like what I do with my outboard powered boat. I have to mix the oil in the gas (yes an old 2 stroke). On a given trip I may burn anywhere from 1/2 gal to 2 gal. I just mix a fuel can ahead of time and use that to top off. (If you're using a biocide, that's probably what you're doing already with it) There are additives that combine lubrication and biocides in one mix. They are available at marinas, marine supply stores and even truck stops.

As far as purchasing fuel in a can at the marina, I know people that do it. It hasn't been a problem for them. It may depend on the State or the Marina, but what can it hurt to ask?

Richard

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Marinas will fill jerry jugs no problem. How else do you get gas into your dingy engine?
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CapnRon-

The issue isn't whether they'll fill a jerry can at a marine fuel dock, as most will. The real reason most marinas have a no-fueling-the-boat-via-jerry-can policy is liability. If someone spills fuel and it catches fire, a lot of boats could go up. Also, there are fairly massive EPA fines for spilling fuel as well.
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diesel fuel

All,
ok, thanks for the responses. I understand the issues you bring up. I am sensitive to not wanting to spill fuel for many reasons; safety, environmental and the PO of the boat warned me that if I don't stop fueling the minute I see the first bubbles come up in the line I will get fuel in the overflow line and that vents diesel fumes into the aft quaterberth (I believe him, but not sure why since the vent is outside, it makes fueling at those docks that only have high flow systems a challenge). Anyway, I purchased a jerry can that the fuel exits out a hose so that I can lower the hose into the fuel port on the boat and monitor it carefully.

I did not think there would be an issue buying Diesel in a can at the fuel dock, but the gas station is a shorter drive.


Filling the dinghy engine has its own process. I bought a used 2 stroke 4 hp Johnson, for its light weight, it has an external tank and it needs the fuel mixed with oil. So I have another jerry can for that, but this one has one of those new spring controlled spouts that you have to catch on the lip of the tank and push down to start the flow. That took me awhile to figure out.
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topping off your fuel tank is a bad ideal. One is overfilling and spilling fuel but the other is the age of the fuel. I try not to have more than about 6 months worth of fuel in my tank. That way I use fresh fuel!!!! This means I keep about 1/4 tank. For trips etc I fill up . Condensation is not a problem in a boat's diesel tank. At least I have never had any problems in over 5 years. We are like you and only run the diesel long enough to get out and sail. That means maybe an hour or so a month or a quart-or two of fuel a month. that translates usually to about 5-10 gallons a year for me. With a 25 gallon tank you could end up with diesel that is 5 years old!!!!!!
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Diesel Fuel

MS,
Thanks, I had not thought about it that way, we only bought the boat last spring and sailed it from CT to NC in the early fall. It was a lot of motor sailing as we had limited time and took the ICW below VA. So my experience is to use the fuel up on trips. We have not really developed a pattern of use at the house yet, but intend to take it for long weekend trips, so I suspect our fuel usage will be greater than what you propose. The old salts in the neighborhood (I only qualify as old) suggested I keep the tank full for condensation reasons, but then again thats what the Racor is for, I think.
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