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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
i have read a lot of threads about stoves on boats. of course, the usual debate is alcohol or propane.

recently, last month actually, a powerboat at the marina my boat is berthed at caught fire and burned up completely. it was a live aboard. the guy was hurt but he lived. he was lucky. he bought another power boat off of their lean dock and moved into it. the cause? his propane stove.

that was a real piece of reality for me. no propane on my boat!

but, there are safety risks with alcohol, too. the threads i have read make that plain. so, the big question i have is what other options are there?

also, how real is the risk with alcohol?

as i get my boat ready to sail, this will be a choice i am going to have to face. it doesn't have a stove but i will want one for cruising. eating out at every port you stp at is going to be way too costly and you can't always be sure you will be stopping at a port for the night. thanks.
 

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Don't call me a "senior"!
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...

that was a real piece of reality for me. no propane on my boat! ...
A wise choice, IMHO.

...but, there are safety risks with alcohol, too. the threads i have read make that plain. so, the big question i have is what other options are there?

also, how real is the risk with alcohol?

...
The old, pressurized, alcohol stoves were a hazard, mainly because it's difficult to see an alcohol flame unless the lighting is pretty dim. A leak, or fully open unlit burner, could get quite a fire going before anyone realized what was happening. However, modern non-pressurized alcohol stoves (such as those from Origo and Cookmate) are about as safe as a cooker can get. The fuel is much safer than propane, it's almost impossible for the canisters to leak, and there are no hoses, valves, etc., to leak. About the only way I've ever heard of anyone having an uncontrolled fire with an unpressurized stove is if they try to refill the canister while there is still a flame going (which just proves that nothing is completely idiot-proof).

Oh, and while non-pressurized alcohol stove may seem pricy compared to their propane counterparts, that difference vanishes (or is reversed) when you consider the cost of the hoses/tubing, valves, solenoid, vapor sniffer, tank(s), etc., none of which are necessary the a non-pressurized stove.
 

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i have read a lot of threads about stoves on boats. of course, the usual debate is alcohol or propane.

recently, last month actually, a powerboat at the marina my boat is berthed at caught fire and burned up completely. it was a live aboard. the guy was hurt but he lived. he was lucky. he bought another power boat off of their lean dock and moved into it. the cause? his propane stove.

that was a real piece of reality for me. no propane on my boat!

but, there are safety risks with alcohol, too. the threads i have read make that plain. so, the big question i have is what other options are there?

also, how real is the risk with alcohol?

as i get my boat ready to sail, this will be a choice i am going to have to face. it doesn't have a stove but i will want one for cruising. eating out at every port you stp at is going to be way too costly and you can't always be sure you will be stopping at a port for the night. thanks.
One word:

kerosene!
 

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Our first family boat had an alcohol stove and when mum lit it the alcohol spilled from the saucer thingy and caused a fure. Dad and I leapt to the rescue and used both dry powder extinguises.... But that didnt put the fire out.
Mum the put a towel over it and smmothered the lot. So much for heroic men :(

So, no alcohol stoves on my boat.
 

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My Boat came with CNG. I like it so I've never converted to propane. I know it's not readily available, but I have had no difficulty filling up here in the Northeast U.S. Perhaps with the resurgence of Natural Gas, CNG may become more readily available in the future. Who knows.
 

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i have read a lot of threads about stoves on boats. of course, the usual debate is alcohol or propane.

<snip>

that was a real piece of reality for me. no propane on my boat!
There are only so many options.

People all over the world, ashore and afloat, cook on propane or butane. There are maintenance requirements as for so many other systems but they aren't onerous. Propane all in all is pretty safe.

Alcohol has two big issues - the flame is very difficult to see and the energy content is low. The latter means extended cooking times.

Kerosene has odor issues if combustion isn't well managed and the appliance choices are limited. For most you'll have heat issues - fine in northern latitudes, not so great in the tropics.

Electrical heat - resistance or inductive has a growing following but you are completely dependent on your generator running for every meal.
 

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The option that I chose, and that nobody here has mentioned so far, is an electric galley. I have a Ceran 4 burner stove and oven aboard which is quite energy efficient. Baking bread or other things in the oven takes a lot of power to warm up, but once at temperature the electrical use is miserly indeed.

An electric galley requires a hefty inverter and a good sized battery bank if one doesn't want to fire up a generator in order to bake or cook, but I'm glad I went that way and have no propane in the cabin (I kept the propane tanks and they are hooked up to the BBQ outside and all of the interior tubing is in place but not connected.

Electric Galley on Zanshin
 

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The reality of this discussion is the numbers. There are literally thousands of propane stoves out there for every alcohol stove. There are a very few explosions when you compare the numbers like that. Just like gas is dangerous, and I don't see all you with gas engines swearing never to have one on your boat, propane is dangerous, but with a properly set up system and an operator who is halfway cautious, there is no more danger with a propane system than with any other.
As someone who has a boat with electric cooking (I guess you'd call that the ultimate safe stove?), I'd switch in a heartbeat and never regret it.
If you are an alcoholic, have Alzheimer's or someone who just can't operate and maintain something as simple as a stove, then by all means, find an alternative, but blaming propane for the errors of it's operators is the same as blaming any tool for it's operator's actions. It is much more likely you will be injured or killed DRIVING down to your boat in your car, than by your propane stove.
 
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This is interesting Propane is not now, nor has it ever been unsafe on boats. People are unsafe and do stupid things every day. Maintain your stuff and it will serve you.
Propane is inherently MUCH more dangerous than alcohol. (<- note the period at the end of that sentence)
 
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Don't call me a "senior"!
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Our first family boat had an alcohol stove and when mum lit it the alcohol spilled from the saucer thingy and caused a fure. Dad and I leapt to the rescue and used both dry powder extinguises.... But that didnt put the fire out.
Mum the put a towel over it and smmothered the lot. So much for heroic men :(

So, no alcohol stoves on my boat.
Sounds like a pressurized alcohol stove. Modern non-pressurized alcohol stoves don't have that problem.
 
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Don't call me a "senior"!
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My Boat came with CNG. I like it so I've never converted to propane. I know it's not readily available, but I have had no difficulty filling up here in the Northeast U.S. Perhaps with the resurgence of Natural Gas, CNG may become more readily available in the future. Who knows.
CNG (compressed natural gas) is another good option because it is lighter than air and can't accumulate in the bilge. However, it can be difficult to find outside of the US.
 

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^^^^amen to that(captas paragraph)

this is nonsense never use a car then if your afraid of propane or gas, or an outboard or go inside buildings with heaters

or under your house whatever

it cant get any more simple

there is a valve on the tank connector(prefferably outside in open air or at least a box with a vent down below, I preffer completely exposed) and a soleinoid or second valve before the stove oven...

when using the stoves you always work your way back so with flame on you turn the tank off first...let the gas burn from the tubing completelt then shutoff second valve then stove valve

repeat process to turn on in reverse...

a good way to check for leaks is simply turn on stove first and light it...if it ignites and all your valves are "closed" you know yo have a problem...

I just did this in my house not too long ago...shutting of the valve at the tank did nothing to stop the flame going out so I just replaced the valve

done

all these explosions and stuff are simply from idiots doing stuff wrong or not giving a crap...

fancy expensive installations but the boat is never used so you have something that fails you never know about it and bam...stuff like that

but like others having been around and travelled a lot with propane this was the least of our worries when cruising...

If I were a solo sailor on a very small boat say under 25 feet you cant beat JAMES BALDWINS gimballed kerosene cooker...

it combines the benefits of kerosene, pressure so you have less soot and gimballed single burner for simplicity...

ps alcohol is not a worldwide fuel and is much scarcer and non existant in many countries...using other alcohols is cost prohibitive

kerosene is very popular and yes you can use diesel instead and add a touch of something I forget to improve flame and decrease soot

and lastly PROPANE can be found ANYWHERE
 

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One word:

kerosene!
Personally, I wouldn't mind a kero stove. However, my wife is particularly sensitive to such fumes. Even a "perfectly burning" kero stove drives her nuts when we've used them while camping in the Great Outdoors. In a boat cabin I would probably have a mutiny on my hands.
 

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On my Allegra 24 I had no sniffer and no cylinoid. I plumbed it myself so I knew it was good. I had one continues fuel line from stern mounted tank to oven. When I wanted to cook I turned it on half turn open. When I was done cooking I shut it off and let fuel burn out of line. These are very low pressure systems and 100% infallible when done correctly.
 

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^^^^amen to that(captas paragraph)

this is nonsense never use a car then if your afraid of propane or gas, or an outboard or go inside buildings with heaters
...
A car or house are NOT the same as a boat. If you haven't noticed, a boat has a bilge. That bilge collects fumes. You can vent the bilge with a fan, but relying on electrical gizmos that live in a salty, damp environment, to prevent an explosion is problematic at best. Why not just avoid the dangerous fumes all together?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
A wise choice, IMHO.

The old, pressurized, alcohol stoves were a hazard, mainly because it's difficult to see an alcohol flame unless the lighting is pretty dim. A leak, or fully open unlit burner, could get quite a fire going before anyone realized what was happening. However, modern non-pressurized alcohol stoves (such as those from Origo and Cookmate) are about as safe as a cooker can get. The fuel is much safer than propane, it's almost impossible for the canisters to leak, and there are no hoses, valves, etc., to leak. About the only way I've ever heard of anyone having an uncontrolled fire with an unpressurized stove is if they try to refill the canister while there is still a flame going (which just proves that nothing is completely idiot-proof).

Oh, and while non-pressurized alcohol stove may seem pricy compared to their propane counterparts, that difference vanishes (or is reversed) when you consider the cost of the hoses/tubing, valves, solenoid, vapor sniffer, tank(s), etc., none of which are necessary the a non-pressurized stove.
thanks. i had forgotten about the non-pressurized types, in my post. that's an option i will have to look into farther.
 

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A car or house are NOT the same as a boat. If you haven't noticed, a boat has a bilge. That bilge collects fumes. You can vent the bilge with a fan, but relying on electrical gizmos that live in a salty, damp environment, to prevent an explosion is problematic at best. Why not just avoid the dangerous fumes all together?
yes I HAVE noticed but the FEAR is nonsense and from travelling around the world I have noticed that properly installed propane systems are what 99 percent of cruisers use and that failure rate due to propane is ZERO

failure cause of dumbass installations or bad useage was what caused problems

it cant get any simpler...a line from a tank to a stove...you shutoff at the source and check for leaks if you are in doubt...thats how you test and see if there is a failure...

if your prudent you replace lines every couple of years

end of story:)
 

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On my Allegra 24 I had no sniffer and no cylinoid. I plumbed it myself so I knew it was good. I had one continues fuel line from stern mounted tank to oven. When I wanted to cook I turned it on half turn open. When I was done cooking I shut it off and let fuel burn out of line. These are very low pressure systems and 100% infallible when done correctly.
Aye, there's the rub --- "when done correctly."

It only takes forgetting, or being distracted, or a leak in the line filling you bilge while you are cooking, ONCE to make for a really bad day.
 
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