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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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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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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
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.
care to expound on that? if there are things that ca be done to make sure nothing like that ever happens on my boat, i will think about the propane option a bit more before i totally rule it out. however, i have read a lot f posts that really don't support propane being a 'safe' fuel and after seeing that burnt out husk at the marina ( and picturing having been my boat ) that sinched it for me. but i'm always willing to listen to the voice of reason.
 

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Discussion Starter · #31 ·
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.
that's an option i hadn't heard of. one question. since it's compressed under high pressure do you have to worry about someone dropping the cannister and it becoming a missile, like an oxygen tank?
 

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Discussion Starter · #35 ·
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
i was wondering if electric was an option. at home, i prefer electric stoves. natural gas can kill you.

i won't be needing an oven, just a stove top. heck, i never could get bread to rise when i have tried baking it, anyway.:)

i wonder how bad a draw electric stove tops are....
 

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Discussion Starter · #36 ·
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.
that probably won't be an problem here in the chesapeake. i will definately have to look into that further. i googled it and wiki says it's being used to fuel transportation on a growing basis around the world so maybe he is right about CNG being a fuel for the future.
 

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Discussion Starter · #39 ·
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.
that makes that option sound a lot safer. trouble is, i have interior storage space but very little outside. where to put the tank might be an issue. although i don't consider myself an idiot and i am always safety minded when i do stuff, things happen. if there are fuels to use that have less of a chance of things happening, then those are better options. murphy's law is always a consideration.
 

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Discussion Starter · #40 ·
captain

its a shame you saw that but please do some reseacrh and see what caused it...ask him if need be...or the police report or whatever

propane is not unsafe...by any means and its one of the simplest installations and jobs to do on a boat

its just hose, clamps some tubing...and a valve or solenoid if you want

KISS
you are right. i should check on that. i don't know the details. all i know is that he uses propane and it went up because of the propane. i don't know what he was doing at the time and i don't know the condition of his system. he used it all the time, thougj, because he was a live aboard. it wasn't a case of a boat that sits developing an issue that just didn't get caught.

i admit, freely, the sight of that completely burnrd out boat was a bit shocking and made me think more than twice about the issue of cooking fuel. it's an issue i never had to consider on a boat, before. there wasn't really anything that could be saved on that boat. it was, quite litterally, toast.
 

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Discussion Starter · #43 ·
BJ I'm currently using this system as I rebuild my galley and they are great but also VERY dangerous and have a history of blowing to high hell. We have a ten minute max before we enter the danger zone. That being said when we took a knock down this summer "captains fault" we taco'd the stove, our second lost stove to date "captain needs to install reef lines" and it was about 24 bucks to replace. Finding fuel can be a challenge. I would guess I have used these about 1500 meals to date and love it minus fear of early entrance to heaven
you are talking about butane?
 

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Discussion Starter · #45 ·

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Discussion Starter · #50 ·
I like the simplicity of my non- pressurized alcohol stove. Yeah, lower energy potential than Porpane, but unless you do all of your cooking on high flame, the actual difference is pretty negligible on a small burner, small footprint marine stove. An over or a large footprint burner would be a different story.

another advantage of a small alcohol stove is the "hoseless" portability. want to do a fondue or grill night with friends in the cockpit? Bring the alcohol stove outside, put it on the cockpit table, and you are good to go.

Another "safe" alternative is small butane ranges. 2-Burner Butane Countertop Range / Portable Stove with Brass Burners

Not as durable as a stainless steel alcohol range, but at the price, you could buy one a year for 10 years before the cost difference is eaten up.
holy hot plate batman! that is cheap.
 

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Discussion Starter · #52 ·
just to add to the fire that thread has foul play as one of the causes...

whatever the case just do your research and you will be rewarded wth tons of info

if I ever solo sail again on a small boat I repeat that james baldwins kerosene gimballed cooker is hard to beat

:)
that's the reason for the thread. i want to learn before i decide. i will have to look into that type of cooker. i am used to handling kero.
 

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Discussion Starter · #55 · (Edited)
reading the link provided by multihullgirl doesn't make me feel all that good about propane or butane. i definately will be keeping them on the back burner ( sorry. i couldn't help it. it was such an obvious pun. it would have been negligent not to have gone there ) as i check out non-pressurized alcohol, CNG, electric, and induction.


strike that. induction and electric are out because of battery needs. just non-pressurized alcohol and CNG to choose from....oh, and kero.
 

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Discussion Starter · #81 ·
Kerosene stinks if it is not properly vaporized. For instance, if you put it in an oil lamp (with a wick), that will happen. Or if your stove/oven is not properly maintained or operated.

If properly vaporized, good quality kerosene has no smell.

Fumes: yet, if you spill it, it will smell. But it will not explode and it will burn only with difficulty (you can throw a match in a puddle of kerosene and it will not burn). It will also smell if not properly vaporized (typically not enough pre-heating).

Kero heaters can kill you if you operate them without enough fresh air (carbon monoxide poisoning). This applies to ANY open flame heater (kero, gas, wood, coal, ...).

So, in summary, the worst consequence of poor maintenance or poor operation of a kerosene stove is that it smells. For LPG, it is instant death of the operator and anyone else on board.

Which one do you choose?
solid point, there. i am used to wick type space heaters....so, smell came to mind.
 

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Discussion Starter · #82 ·
I would not consider a gas explosion a minor problem.

The boat in the slip next to me (on the Chesapeake Bay) some time ago discovered a mouse on the boat. It happens.
check that out. you are pretty close by.
 

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Discussion Starter · #83 ·
A used origo stove from Sweden, because a new 2 burner is $250-350. Denatured alcohol stove fuel-$10 to $20 a gallon at hardware stores, quart at walmart. Hard not to spill when filling canisters. You need to see pics of canister.
really? it goes for $10 to $20 a gallon? how long does a gallon last?
 

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Discussion Starter · #86 ·
Gee, do you have a stove in your car, I don't! Never have! No, the point there was that DRIVING is more dangerous than having a propane stove on a boat; do you understand that point now?
For crying out loud, talk about missing the point, much!
you don't have a stove in your car? how on earth do you fix lunch when on road trips?
 
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Discussion Starter · #92 ·
thanks for all the input guys. it's been a lot, so far.

i am ruling out pressurized alcohol.

alcohol is pretty expensive. that's a consideration with a non pressurized system although they sound pretty safe.

i get the idea that propane is completely safe when everything goes ok and you dot all your T's and cross all your I's. however, i am a big believer in preparing for when ( notice i didn't say if ) stuff goes wrong. if you follow multihullgirl's link, the first words you will read say propane is the most inherrently dangerous fuel used to cook on boats.

that means, if everything doesn't go perfectly, propane has the greatest liklihood of blowing you out of the water. butane is right up there because it's heavier than air.

to my mind it's kind of like choosing a family plane. they have that carnard, 'wrong way' wing supersonic fighter....what is it? an X 833 or something....it is super maneuverable. and it's perfectly stable in flight as long as it's 18 onboard computers are working. now, if i had the wife and kids ( hypothetical. not married and no kids ) out for a flight and one of those computers goes out, all bets are off. a human can not fly it unaided by computers.

so, my other chice is a piper cub. it may not be as fast as the fancy jet but, it's inherrently safer to fly. which one do you take the wife and kids up in?

stuff goes wrong every day.

that's kind of the way i look at it.

electric in any form is out, for my application. too much juice to run it.

so, i think, so far, i am leaning towards non pressurized alcohol or CNG.
 
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