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  • 1 Post By Capt Len
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  #1  
Old 09-06-2013
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Heating a boat

Would you install or be ok sleeping in a boat that has an internal gas motor (atomic four etc..) with any open flames inside the boat while it's closed up? Sleeping at night with the heat from a propane or diesel heater, wood stove, even a hurricane lamp or cook stove running to keep warm. Maybe your anchored out for the night in an inlet headed south on the ICW in late Nov.. Any open flame I assume would be dangerous. Any gas leaking from a cracked hose, leaking gas tank, loose clamp etc. and bang.
I've seen heaters on boats with diesels. Just keep something cracked for fresh air. Is this bad policy also? Does anyone do this with a internal gas motor and tank?
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Old 09-06-2013
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Re: Heating a boat

No as a boat owner.. No as a heating and ac professional.
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Old 09-07-2013
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Re: Heating a boat

...and even if it doesn't explode right away, carbon monoxide will probably get you.
Warm clothing, warm bedding, no kaboom.
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Old 09-07-2013
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Re: Heating a boat

Denise, what about with the exhaust blowers running?
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Old 09-07-2013
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Re: Heating a boat

Even an appliance with outside air intake for combustion would be risky imo Jim.
Gasoline vapor is like propane.. heavier then air. so it lays low.

I think I read once that a one gallon container of just gas fumes is equal to one stick of dynamite.
gasoline
Gasoline has the dangerous combination of a low flash point combined with a high vapor density. The flash point of a liquid is defined as the temperature above which the liquid produces vapors which can ignite or explode. The flash point of gasoline is - 45 degrees F ( - 43 degrees C). In practical terms, this means that at all temperatures above minus 45 degrees, liquid gasoline is producing vapor which can ignite or explode. By comparison, the flash point of kerosene is 100 degrees F and the flash point of diesel fuel is 125 degrees F.

The vapor density is defined as the ratio of density of the vapor of a substance to the density of air. Air has a density of one. Substances with a vapor density of less than one are lighter than air and tend to dissipate easily. Substances with a vapor density greater than one are heavier than air and tend to accumulate in low places. Gasoline has a vapor density of 3 to 4. At normal temperatures, liquid gasoline is producing vapors that can catch fire, and which accumulate in low places. These vapors can travel considerable distances from the spill point. If you spill gasoline in the basement or in the garage, the flammable vapors can travel considerable distances and ignite from the pilot light of a hot water heater or furnace. Many building codes require that garage mounted hot water heaters be elevated 18 or more inches above floor level for this reason.
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Old 09-07-2013
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Re: Heating a boat

Boy, it's a good thing my father didn't know this when he fished for 50 years. Gas engine(Easthopes to Crysler Crowns) and a diesel cook stove. The only fire we ever had was a scorched deck iron that ran out of water.
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Re: Heating a boat

NO. Having traveled in winter with an A-4 powered boat I will report this. After running all day I cook almost every night on a propane stove/open flame. The MC is small and simple with good access to the engine compartment/gas lines, bilge etc so checking for leaks and "sniff testing" is easy.
I never leave anything burning while sleeping. Just bundle up.
Bottom line is not to have any leaks.
Dan S/V Marian Claire
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Old 09-07-2013
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Re: Heating a boat

With respect to diesel heaters there is a difference between an in-built heater from Espar, Webasto, or Hurricane like this:

and a bulkhead or floor mount heater like this:


As far as open flame is concerned we all have our own risk thresholds. I don't have any issue with leaving a W&P Yacht lamp burning while I sleep (other than the waste of lamp oil) - in fact it isn't unusual for me to fall asleep reading or watching a movie. I similarly would be fine with a clean and maintained bulkhead heater going. Certainly I sleep well with the Espar ticking over. I don't like propane heaters or cookers running over night, although I have used propane heaters on cold weather deliveries with someone on watch. I don't like using cookers for heat.

Janet on the other hand doesn't like any flame she can see (which excepts the Espar) burning while she sleeps.

All that is on a boat with gasoline only for the dinghy engine, and that stored in the dink or on deck.

That said I think maintenance is everything. If you accept propane aboard for cooking then gasoline for main propulsion seems of similar risk.
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Old 09-07-2013
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Re: Heating a boat

Just to clarilfy, the Dickinson Newport heater (propane and diesel versions available) shown above in Auspicious' post both pulls combustion air from outside, and discharges all products of combustion outside via a double walled flue section. The ambience of the visible flame is there, but it's not an 'open flame'. The heat is transferred via a heat exchanger and circulation fan. It's quite safe, compared to the old Force 10 bulkhead heaters and catalytic style floor heaters.

Even so we don't sleep with the flame on - we tried it once in sub freezing temps, we were fine but still not totally comfortable with the idea. Our latest trick (if we're plugged in) is to put a small warming pad at the foot of our berth an hour or so before climbing in - and pile on the blankets!
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