Many vessels were used very little last year due to the high price of gas and diesel fuel.  Fuels derived from Hydrocarbons have a tendency to break down over a period of time. Gasoline is very susceptible to degradation over the winter months and should always be stabilized with a fuel additive when laying up a vessel for extended periods of time. The Octane of the gas will decrease to a point that the gas will become unusable. Gas remaining in fuel injection system or carburetor will evaporate and the residue will cause damage to the components. This can be expensive to repair.
Diesel Fuel is also susceptible to degradation but typically takes longer to become unusable.  Diesel combustibility is rated in Cetane. Diesel will not evaporate as readily as gasoline; however, old diesel fuel can cause significant damage to injection systems and pumps. Diesel fuel system components such as injectors, nozzles and pumps can be very expensive to repair once damaged and the operation of an engine with faulty fuel system components can cause a catastrophic failure of the engine.

Always keep fuel tanks pressed up when the vessel is not in use. Leave approximately 5% for expansion so your tank will not over flow when temperatures rise. This reduces the surface area that condensation can form on and will reduce the amount of water that can contaminate the fuel. Water in a fuel will allow microorganism’s to grow within the tank. The more water and the higher the temperature the more growth you will have. This is commonly known as sludge and can destroy a fuel system over time. Many fuel tanks are not easily accessible and can be very expensive to renew.

Keep filtration equipment such as fuel filters and separators in good condition and monitor these components regularly for best service. It may become necessary to pump out, flush and discard old gasoline to assure a good fuel system that will not harm your engine. It is highly recommended that you have your diesel fuel polished to remove microorganisms and water.

How do I know what the condition of my gas or diesel is you may ask? The best way to be sure is to have a professional inspect your tanks and systems and make a determination and recommended corrective action. Be ready to discuss when you took on fuel last, how much fuel your vessel holds, tank locations(s) how much fuel you use. Spring is just around the corner and it is a matter of a few weeks before we all get spring fever.  Now is the time to be thinking about getting our boats ready for summer. Beat the spring rush and call your service center now.

Jeff Fulcher
Yard Manager

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