Marina Fueling Guide

Using marina equipment such as speed boats, fishing boats, and jet-skis can be incredibly fun and exciting experiences. But the actual act of filling up these machines at marina filling stations can be a bit more dangerous you might expect because this environment is very susceptible to static related accidents. Static is generated when liquids move in contact with other materials, and hydrocarbons (i.e. petroleum and ethanol products) are particularly susceptible to static accumulation. Due the liquid flowing through pipes and being mixed, poured, pumped, filtered, or agitated a static spark can occur and an ignition can result. Using equipment such as grounding wires, clamps, and studs can eliminate the threat of a fire or explosion caused by static build-up.

For more information regarding grounding during marina fueling, refer to the this guide from the offices of the Wisconsin Department of Commerce Bureau of Storage Tank Regulation -

Changing your boat’s fuel filter regularly is important to ensure your boat is always in prime working order, especially if you boat in an area that has recently switched to ethanol formulated gasoline. Ethanol has a tendency to clean out fuel systems, resulting in the need to change your fuel filter more frequently with the first few tanks of ethanol formulated fuel.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (2001), most fuel dock spills result from overfilling boat fuel tanks or while transferring the fuel nozzle from the boat back to the fuel dock. To prevent this, the EPA recommends nozzles be automatic without hold-open clips. Another potential source of fuel leaks comes from damaged pipes, hoses, and hose accessories leading from the fuel storage tank(s) to the marina vehicle. Ensure that these materials as well as breakaways and swivels and the like are all properly fastened and in working condition.

Though not all marinas are required to have such a plan in place, having some form of response plan in place is a good idea. The Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure Plan, commonly referred to as an SPCC Plan, is a government regulated and enforced plan for marina fueling vendors (some, but not all). Though not all marinas are required to have such a plan in place, having some form of a spill response plan in place is a good idea. In the event of a spill, ensure that you have proper oil only spill containment materials on hand. 

To find out more information about the regulatory plan, view the EPA’s informational document here -


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