Spillproof Fueling

Spillproof Fueling

The most common way we unknowingly pollute the water is by filling up our tanks — even a small leak is hazardous to our seas, hurting both animals and plants. Preventing a fuel leak costs much less than cleaning it up, so a little forethought goes a long way toward keeping our environment clean.

Image copyright Petroalacant

Follow these instructions for proper fuelling procedures:


• Inspect fuel lines and tanks for cracks, corrosion, or damage, as well as leaks.
• Keep an absorbent bib, collar, and spill kit handy to collect any drips or spills.
• Know how much fuel your tanks or portable container can hold.
• Install an overflow adapter for the fuel tank air vent that serves as a fuel/air separator, releasing air and vapour while containing any excess.


• To capture drips and any overflow, place an absorbent bib over the fuel intake or a collar around the gasoline nozzle. 

• Position yourself so you can see the deck fill and comfortably hold the nozzle in contact with the edge of the fill.

• Slowly fill the tank and listen for a change in tone as it fills. To accommodate for thermal expansion, the Coast Guard recommends filling inboard tanks to 90% capacity.

Because boat gasoline tanks are not pressurized like vehicle fuel tanks, the automatic shut-off nozzle on the pump rarely words.


· Clean up any spills and dispose of rags/absorbent gasoline bib/collar as hazardous waste.

Portable Fuel Cans

Accidental fuel spills are common when fuel is transported and transferred using portable gasoline cans (also known as jerrycans). To avoid spills and reduce fuel vapours emitted into the atmosphere, all new jerrycans must comply with a set of requirements. Fill jerrycans ashore on a level surface, where spills are less common and cleanup is simpler. The new jerrycans will take longer to fill, but with fewer fumes escaping and fewer fuel spills, the portable can is a better product for the environment.

All recreational boaters can reduce the risk of leaking oil or fuel while operating their vessel by operating with caution.

Source: "Green Boating Guideline", Sailors for the Sea.