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Old 09 January 2013, 03:12   #1
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Petrol storage

I recently got my new outboard and tank. It came with a 12litre tank, brand new so empty.

How do people store these when they contain fuel as they exceed the allowable limit of 5 litres petrol storage in a single plastic container? Do you end up decanting petrol in to smaller containers, notify their PLA or just play ignorance to the law?

I also noticed at a petrol station about limits they allow to be filled in an external container. Next time I see one I will read the limits as they may refuse to allow filling of a plastic container over 5 litres.

I already store up to 5 litres of 2 stroke in a plastic container so looks like I need to get a 10 litre metal container for any excess for the outboard, especially when I am away when my outboard and fuel will be kept in the back of the car.

I assume that outboard external fuel tanks are of an approved design for storage?

HSE - Petroleum - frequently asked questions - Fire and explosion

Quote:
What is the limit of the amount of petrol I can store for domestic use?

The Petroleum Spirit (Motor Vehicles etc.) Regulations 1929 and the Petroleum Spirit (Plastic Containers) Regulations 1982 limit the amount of petrol that can be kept in a domestic garage or within six metres of a building (e.g. most domestic driveways). The limit is a maximum of two suitable metal containers each of a maximum capacity of ten litres and two plastic containers (which have to be of an approved design) each of a maximum capacity of five litres. These limits also apply to any containers kept in a vehicle parked in the garage or on the driveway (but not to the internal fuel tank of the vehicle). Under no circumstances should the petrol containers be stored in the home itself.

Anyone who wishes to store larger quantities than this, or use larger containers, is required to notify the local Petroleum Licensing Authority (PLA) and to store the petrol in a prescribed manner set out in the 1929 Regulations mentioned above - enquirers who want further details should contact their local PLA. Storage of more than 275 litres (60 gallons) of petrol requires a petrol licence - again, contact the local PLA.
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Old 09 January 2013, 03:59   #2
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The law applies to fuel kept in cans etc. The plastic thing that came with your engine is a fuel tank - the 5l law doesn't apply to tanks (same as filling the tank on your car). Some petrol stations don't know the difference so will get funny. I find Tesco "pay at pump" is the most reliable means of filling a boat!
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Old 09 January 2013, 04:28   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim M View Post
The law applies to fuel kept in cans etc. The plastic thing that came with your engine is a fuel tank - the 5l law doesn't apply to tanks (same as filling the tank on your car). Some petrol stations don't know the difference so will get funny. I find Tesco "pay at pump" is the most reliable means of filling a boat!
The law doesn’t apply to a plastic tank (any fuel tank) if its part of or connected to a vehicle – i.e. your boat. If its in your boat connected to the fuel system then size is irrelevant. If the tanks removed and you then try to fill up your back to the 5 & 10 litre rule. ( I had a chat with the local Fire and Rescue official who advises the garages on fuel law ). A Super market 5 min from my house won’t let you fill your jerry can at the pumps, technically there right, the Jerry can is too big (20 litres ) and its also illegal to leave it full at your home, back to the 2 x 10litre metal container rule – R.I.P. Jerry Can
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Old 09 January 2013, 04:44   #4
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Thanks for you answer Tim. I looked into this further and found...

Quote:
Suitable Container means –
• a metal container satisfying the constructional and labelling requirements of the Petroleum-
Spirit (Motor Vehicles etc) Regulations 1929; or
• a plastic container satisfying the constructional and labelling requirements of the Petroleum-Spirit (Plastic Containers) Regulations 1982; or
a demountable fuel tank of a motor boat or similar vessel; or
• a United Nations approved container for the carriage of petrol.
I am however waiting to clarify it with my PLA (Surrey Trading Standards in my case) but I hope that this does indeed cover storage when tank is demounted as I have seen a clause regarding storage which states...

Quote:
The containers must be carried on the vehicle or boat etc.
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Old 09 January 2013, 05:41   #5
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Originally Posted by Tim M View Post
Some petrol stations don't know the difference so will get funny. I find Tesco "pay at pump" is the most reliable means of filling a boat!
Same here I usually fill 3 or 4 -25lt suitable plastic cans secured in the boot about a hour before launch, "pay at pump" then its out with the jiggle syphon down the yard 10 min later.
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Old 09 January 2013, 07:16   #6
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When filling a 22 litre Plastimo tank, an employee of the local M&S / BP garage once asked me over the tannoy:
a) To hold up the container I was filling, then
b) To walk over and show them through the window!

Needless to say I didn't go there again - some other local garages probably wouldn't care if you were filling a cardboard box.

Even attached to the boat, I am not sure what the insurers of my house (or, indeed, common sense) would say about the fuel stored within a couple of meters of my house (on the boat). But, then again, if I stored it (more safely) down the end of the garden it would have to be in multiple 10 litre containers.

For that matter, the insurers of my car might balk at paying out for a fire if there was a full plastic tank in the boot.
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Old 09 January 2013, 07:26   #7
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I've been talking to our Petroleum Licensing Officer at my Petroleum Licensing Authority (PLA) and the laws are all a rather confusing and outdated. Its going to be reviewed soon triggered by the episode of the MP who told people to stock up on fuel in their jerry cans during a fuel strike. One can hope that the review will simplify things and bring the rules up to date.

Basically there is no straight answer as its all down to whether the storage container/fuel tank is approved for its use. However, storage of more than 30 litres near a building appears to be a nono unless you talk to the PLA and I still think that that 30l needs to be split across at least 4 containers containing a max of approx 10l (tanks often hold a different amount than marked as a vapour gap). Transportation of reasonable (read 'much more than you would ever need to personally transport') quantities of fuel is allowed but again, as long as the container is approved for transportation. In otherwords, you can fill up an approved container and drive it to your boat even if the quantity was more than you could legally store.

His suggestion was to check with the petrol station that they consider the tank as an approved container before filling up. By the letter of the law, as long as it was an approved demountable fuel tank for a boat it is allowed (covered under the "demountable fuel tank of a motor boat or similar vessel" bit) but there will always be some guy who interprets green as red and refuse you.

Approval seems to consist of whether the unit was designed, manufactured, built and appropriately marked for its anticipated use. Suitable does not mean approved. The marking seemed to be very important to him - it is meant to clearly indicate to anyone that the container contains a flammable substance so a dark green unmarked jerry can is unlikely to fit the bill but a red can with flammable liquid printed on it could be. As my outboard is brand new from a reputable manufacturer bought from a reputable source he didn't think it would be an issue but still asked me to confirm this with the manufacturer. He wasn't however so positive about a container of unknown origin or bought from a back street trader.

If you have a boat fuel tank that is approved for storage of fuel then it can be used to store fuel. But if its not approved for storing fuel, the moment it is removed from the boat it becomes storage and is thus governed by the storage regulations. I guess that there are probably very few boat fuel tanks that would not be approved for storage but I guess something like the flexible (RNLI?) tanks would not be.

Plastic containers seems to be the preferred method of storage which does go against the letter of the law (max 5l plastic, 10l metal) but the implication was that a well maintained air tight plastic container was going to be generally more appropriate than a metal one so I think he has applied a bit of common sense to that one.

I specifically questioned my use, that is a bright red plastic 12litre fuel tank marked as flammable so probably approved for storage - I haven't given my tank much of a look over to see exactly how it was marked. As it was still a relatively small quantity and an approved container, it would be highly unlikely that anyone would chase me to the letter of the law even in the event of say a fire at home. In my case, I would be unlikely to be storing 12l of fuel at home anyhow as the tank would just have residual fuel from the last trip. But I'm really not sure what the implications would be for a larger container.

These are of course my interpretation of the PLA's policy for my area for domestic use.

My PLA gave me 15 minutes of his time and was very helpful. Suggest that people find out who their PLA is and give them a call to discuss their own personal circumstances.
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Old 09 January 2013, 07:32   #8
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Thanks Ian.

I would assume that CE marking is the appropriate mark of approval. (And TuV / BS before that).

Whether that still applies when a fitting is changed, or when it is connected to a non CE-marked boat is a different matter....
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Old 09 January 2013, 14:34   #9
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Personally I fill the tanks before use then I am not having to store large quantities.
Also if the tank is left in the boat it isn't stored within a garage and would therefore be the same as a car. Also leave the tanks low then it makes it less of a target for thieving b@27ards!!
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Old 09 January 2013, 15:54   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HughN View Post
some other local garages probably wouldn't care if you were filling a cardboard box.
That sounds like the gas stations in the USA. We have many cardlock stations that are completely unattended. We commonly fill 19 liter tanks without so much as a word.

Can't y'all just pull up whip out your fuel tanks and fill them before anyone even notices?

Even though it is a rule here in the USA few know about it, but you must put unsecured fuel tanks solidly on the ground when filling them. This keep static electricity from generating, and is a good safety measure. In other words take it out of your boot or truck and fill on the ground.

Our gas stations are mostly like this.
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