It's time to tackle your boat's gas system! A few simple but practical tips will help you protect yourself and your team from unexpected surprises!
Gas system installation and associated hazards
On many even new yachts, gas stoves are not uncommon. Despite the fact that the safety of people on board is paramount, a large number of yachtsmen do not properly treat safety and equipment safety.
This is especially true for gas installations and hoses. Moreover, problems can arise even at the stage of installing the gas system on board. Unlike domestic stationary systems, the installation of the gas pipeline and related equipment can be done by the yachtsman himself.
However, we think that there is no need to talk about the professionalism of the majority of yachtsmen as gasmen. Potentially incorrect installation of such equipment can lead to very unfortunate consequences and you will be lucky if there are no casualties. Therefore, the first advice usually given by shipyard specialists is to use the services of certified workers who specialize in working with gas.
A good gas system on a yacht can cost a pretty penny, but when it comes to safety, it’s better not to save money once again.
Locker for storage of a gas cylinder
This locker must have reliable fastenings, and the gas from the cylinders must go directly overboard - so the risk of sudden ignition from an accidental spark will be an order of magnitude less.
The locker must be strong and reliable. The gas bottle compartment used must be airtight with respect to other interior spaces of the yacht. For greater safety, experts recommend installing an additional vent for better ventilation of the locker. Moreover, access to such a locker should not be difficult in any way or in any way. Padlocking a gas locker is not a good idea.
The gas locker must undergo regular maintenance, especially if it is metal. Any corrosion carries a potential hazard. The gas outlet should be either near the waterline or significantly higher. On some older yachts, this hole is completely below the waterline. This option does not suit us.
Pipes and hoses
The first thing you should pay attention to is the integrity and safety of pipes and hoses. Excessive bends in hoses can easily create damage that can cause gases to leak and pipes can also corrode.
It is important to make sure that the piping system is working properly, the pipes are not clogged, and there are no leaks. You can check for leaks using special measuring instruments. For a one-time check, there are gas analyzers, and for continuous monitoring of the level of gas content in a room, there are wall or ceiling gas detectors.
Household gas is heavier than air, but an order of magnitude lighter than water. So if there are leaks or a gas outlet below the waterline, the accumulated gas may just be waiting for an insidious spark somewhere in the hold.
A reliable and easy way to determine the presence of a hole in the hose is familiar to all of us from childhood - immerse the hose in a bucket of water and check for air bubbles.
The location of the gas cylinder or cylinders on board is also an important consideration. The compartment or locker used to store the cylinder must only be used for its intended purpose. Even if there is space left in it, you should not leave any devices or containers there, except for the cylinder itself.
The place where the cylinder will be stored should ideally be dry. The cylinder must not be exposed to the outside. This is especially true of the impact that can violate its integrity.
To connect the cylinder to the gas system, it must be carried out using special hoses and / or pipes. Hose certification is important, hoses marked BS3212/2 are the international standard.
These hoses should be dated and are not very long by themselves. They should be checked regularly and replaced at least every five years, provided they have been used properly.
Some experts believe that such hoses can be safe for 10 years. However, manufacturing companies and certified experts estimate the service life of even the most reliable hoses at 4-5 years. This period is due to the fact that it is practically impossible to track internal damage and wear of hoses.
The gas regulator is a convenient and practical tool that allows you to regulate the gas supply at any point in the system where this regulator is installed.
The main problem in maintaining these regulators is rust. Stainless steel regulators used to be a popular solution to the problem, but these are now becoming rarer and rarer.
Ordinary metal regulators should be changed at the same intervals as hoses - every five to six years. Even if your regulator does not outwardly show signs of malfunctions, they can be identified by an indirect sign. As some yachtsmen note, if there are problems with the regulator, the flame in the burner will be uneven and constantly change its intensity.
In order not to have to completely dismantle the galley, be careful to install gas regulators in an easily accessible place.
A variety of appliances on board run on gas. Their position is also important to keep track of. For example, a boiler should not be located in a shower or bathroom without an appropriate locker.
If you have an old boat and are the proud owner of a gas refrigerator, then pay attention to the year the device was manufactured. In 1980-90, there were massive product recalls due to a number of malfunctions. Gas refrigerators are generally a relic of the past, they are not found on new boats.
As for the plates, the correctness and reliability of their installation is extremely important. The rubber hose that feeds the gas stove must be changed and serviced regularly. In addition, it is important that there is enough space above and behind the stove - in order to exclude the possibility of accidentally igniting the inner lining, or curtains, or all at once.
Checks, checks and more checks!
Maintenance of your gas system should be regular and comprehensive. By "comprehensive" we mean a complete system health and safety check.
Safety checks and compliance can save your life and the life of the crew. Do not neglect them. Do not forget to use gas as needed, if you are not going to turn it on for a long time, then it is better to shut it off with a valve right at the cylinder.
If there is a smell of gas on board, immediately shut off the cylinder and ventilate the interior of the yacht. Until you make sure that there is no gas in the room, do not use electrical appliances.
Instead of updating last year's chartplotter with a new model, it is better to purchase a gas alarm and indoor gas indicators. This will save and prevent a number of problems.
If you have any doubts, it is better to call a certified gas specialist who will definitely help solve the problem. Yachting is about a safe holiday. Remember this.
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