SeaKnots

Dangers of propane can't be overstated

My friends and i just went through the harrowing experience of fighting a brutal fire in a trailer park after an elderly fellow tried to light a propane appliance the wrong way. The explosion blew him across the room and it was only by the quick thinking of others that both he and his wife were pulled out of the place before it went completely up in flames. Pics and full story on my blog at www.loosemoorings.org The story was on both the evening news and in the local paper.

A reminder how dangerous propane is and how quickly everything can be consumed by a propane fire. This was an aluminum and steel trailer; fiberglass would burn even faster. Propane is a wonderful source of energy, but when things go wrong it can be deadly. After experiencing that we are going to be much more careful with propane on our boat.

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Comment by zeehag on June 10, 2009 at 11:11am
i had a great sniffer on a boat i owned---too bad it was non functional--the solenoid must be turned on to use the propane, and turned off after is used---when is on all the time will wear it out...thing gets hot----turning off the valves before changing tanks is the most important feature of any kind of gas for cooking---also----doesnt matrter what you use--every type of substance for cooking is dangerous----alcohol burns the curtains and spreads like crazy---if one is paranoid one will just eat cold foods....lol.....gooood luck--i use propane.....with ease and comfort....just use caution and life is great.....just like home--btw--i reside aboard my formosa and use propane...i keep little bottles of bubble stuff--kids toy stuff--for checking for leaks----very important to so do at regular intervals, like whenya change tanks...or upgrade equipment...and at 3 bottles for 1 dollar, one cannot go wrong........
Comment by h on June 9, 2009 at 9:16pm
When I was improving the systems on Oleana, to make it a long range cruiser, one of the first item of improvements was installing a propane sniffer and alarm.

The sensor for this sniffer sits below the stove. Like most other mass produced boat installation I have seen.

Since then, the Propane bottle has been taken off the boat, as we have not made long journeys with it yet. As soon as the propane bottle is back the solenoid will be link to the sniffer.

Hopefully this will be enough.

Remember that some time it is not you who light the stove, but some unfamiliar crew. Protection against this possibilities is paramount to have a save environtment.
Comment by Liv on June 9, 2009 at 3:37pm
Thanks for posting Nathaniel.. you're absolutely right.
Comment by Nathaniel Poole on June 9, 2009 at 12:11pm
sure-but a solenoid is only useful if people use it. i'm thinking of installing a timer on ours as it pretty much stays on all the time (we live aboard). and in the example above, the fellow blew up his trailer because he didn't know how to light a propane appliance - he just bought the trailer.
personally i think a gas sniffer is even more important than the solenoid shut-off from a safety standpoint.
Comment by zeehag on June 9, 2009 at 9:38am
make sure ya have a solenoid and safety feastures so the splosions do not occur---i mwas apprenticing with a surveyor and surveyed a yamaha 33 that had a propane splosion resulting from the owner of the boat not turning off the second valve to the bbq---had a y in the system that was unprotected---blew the deck off the boat to 6 inches from forestay-and him into the water doing somersaults--he was fortunate to survive in one piece---totalled the boat---make sure the solenoid covers all of the system not just part of it...i have been using propane for decades onboard--is easy to use when the safety measures are observed...better than alcohol when used correctly.

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