Not to “fan the flames”, but I’d like to share a couple of my personal experiences. I have used both the 1# bottles as well as tapping off the boat’s main propane cylinder. My difficulties with the main cylinder on my last two boat’s is there wasn’t enough room to tap in a hose and permanently store it there. I wound up taking the hose off after every BBQ use, bleeding lines etc. The other problem was the hose had to be strung “daisy chain” from the cylinder to BBQ, making for a tripping hazard. Then finally, the hatch to the prop locker has to be propped open while in use. On the other hand, I have had the 1# cylinders leak so I too, went the threaded cap route. Frankly, I’m a bit surprised that those bottles aren’t sold with a threaded cap, just the plastic dust cover. I like the portability of the 1# bottles as we have taken the BBQ to the beach, used it on picnic benches and various sundry dock parties.
Now, my real life experiences with propane… My dock neighbor had his 20# propane cylinder permanent plumbed to his stern mounted BBQ. One night, we are sitting in our boat and we hear a hissing sound and discover his 20# bottle leaking and will not stop by closing the valve. The neighbor is long gone, the thing is venting like crazy. We call the harbormaster on the telephone and even before he comes down, he calls Alameda FD. They come sirens blazing. We get evacuated and they chop power to the dock. After rolling out hoses, they move the cylinder to the end of the dock, open the valve and let it fully vent. After about an hour, they let us back to the boat. Our boat neighbor was pissed at us because the FD confiscated the cylinder and he told us “when that happens, just put a big wrench on the valve”. Now, that is a band-aid solution if I have ever heard one.
Have you guys ever driven the back way to Yosemite? Ever heard of Priest Grade? Priest was the original gold miners trail up to Big Oak Flat/Groveland. Even though it was paved during the depression, it is steep, treacherous, few guard rails with cliffs on one side and eternity on the other. It has big billboard signs on both ends forbidding trucks, trailers, and RVs. There is a new Priest Grade, but it is four times longer and much slower due to all the traffic. Once, some kook in an RV decided that he could drive down it so he made the turn off. In short order, he burned out his brakes and transmission. How he kept the thing on the road and not plunging into the canyon is beyond me. He was both lucky and good insomuch as he was able to get the left side wheels in the up slope drainage ditch and using the side of the RV as a brake against the embankment. We happened upon him very shortly thereafter. His brakes caught the wild oat grass on fire and fortunately, there wasn’t enough vegetation on the embankment to start a forest fire. It was enough to catch the RV on fire though. Unfortunately, by that time there were more cars behind us so we couldn’t back up so we got a front row seat to the conflagration. First observation: RVs don’t blow up in real life like in Hollywood. They just burn real intensely. The roof quickly burned off and the sides acted like a chimney. There were tremendous explosions when the tires cooked off which at first, we thought was the prop or gas tank, but it did it six times. The gas tank never exploded it just leaked gas that got burnt in the fire. The most amazing thing was the propane tank. It would get super heated causing the pressure relief valve to open. The result was a big whoosh and flame like a blow torch through the center of the RV. It did this multiple times until the propane was all burnt off. Meanwhile, the Forest Service fire truck had to drive all the way up new priest from Moccasin and down the old grade so we got to watch the RV burn completely down to chassis and engine block.
Being fog and wind bound a fair amount of time in San Francisco, we don’t use our BBQ like normal Catalina owners are supposed to, so a 1# bottle lasts us a year unless we spend a couple of weeks in the Delta. We found out that although propane is relatively cheep in Mexico, these 1# bottles are crazy expensive. I saw this ad on amazon, and I am interested other’s opinions.