Monthly Archives: December 2012

Prevent Fuel Emissions with a Portable Fuel Tank

With all the winter boat shows and marine flea markets taking place in the next couple of months we thought we should issue a reminder regarding portable fuel tanks. The following article was supplied by Attwood Marine.

Portable fuel parts diagram

In an effort to reduce emissions from marine fuel systems, the EPA has created new regulations. These standards that went into effect on January 1, 2011, require that all new portable marine fuel tanks follow a zero-emissions policy. Therefore, fuel systems and their component parts needed to be re-designed to handle an inevitable build-up of pressure from limited ventilation, while still maintaining proper fuel flow and optimum engine performance.

Attwood Marine re-engineered their new fuel system components to handle tank expansion and keep the system safe under intense amounts of pressure and extreme temperatures. 

Within this “closed” environment, each component of the fuel system also increases the potential for restricted fuel flow. Attwood components work together to alleviate this risk and ensure engine performance by maintaining flow requirements for marine engines.

Attwood’s engineering team took a cue from the automotive industry that has been utilizing multi-layer construction for years to help meet safety and emission standards. Consequentially, their new specially designed portable fuel tank boasts multi-layer construction with strong automotive-grade materials. Designed with the new EPA regulations in mind, the fuel tanks are tough enough to handle the expansion caused from fuel pressure build-up that would be problematic for other fuel tank systems. Part of this can be credited to the automatic vacuum valve in the cap that, when necessary, gives the tank a breath of ‘fresh air’ helping the whole system consistently perform at an optimum level. 

Portable Fuel Tank

    Features and specifications of the Portable Fuel Tank: 

  • Proven automotive grade multi-layer construction withstands the pressure build up associated with closed systems 
  • Engineered for harsh conditions, temperature extremes and abuse
  • Injection molded interfaces eliminate leaks
  • Tethered/ratcheting cap with automatic vacuum valve
  • Available easy-to-read gauge

Eliminate wasteful and potentially harmful fuel emissions. Keep your investment running in top shape, and keep your fuel where it belongs – in your tank, when you use proven Attwood fuel system components.

Attwood Marine Products is the marine industry leader for fuel systems and accessories, with a reputation for our products’ durability and reliability. Enjoy being out on the water and keep your peace of mind with our fuel tanks, and other fuel system parts, all constructed to stand up to the pressure of the new EPA regulations. Visit the Portable Fuel and EPA Resources section of our site for further information on the new EPA regulations, potential effects of compliance, and the products that keep you safe and your engine performing.

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Quick Tips to Ponder Part 9 – Wake Crossing

Another email question:

Wake crossing: Is there a good method of crossing wakes without having to greatly drop speed? The only thing I’ve seen is to turn my direction to be almost parallel to the wake. This seems to be fine, but in tighter situations, this isn’t always an option. Slowing down works, but this doesn’t seem very feasible or enjoyable to the skier, if we are pulling a water skier. Will the jumping across wakes harm the boat hull, or will it be only uncomfortable to the occupants of the boat?

Depending on the size of the wake you are crossing, you may be forced to slow your speed to keep from pounding the bow of the boat or even leaving the water entirely. Both can do damage to the boat and/or your engine. The best way to handle wakes, if traffic allows, is as follows:

  • If you are approaching a wake caused by a boat coming in the opposite direction, approach with your bow at approximately a 45 degree angle to the oncoming wake. This will allow the bow to move up and over with a little roll and lessen the bow pounding. If the wake is large, you will need to slow your speed to keep from falling off the top of the oncoming wake.
  • If the vessel making the wake has passed you (going the same direction you are going) and if traffic allows, turn so that your stern is at a 45 degree angle to the approaching wake. This lets the wake roll under the stern and pick it up while keeping the motor in the water.
  • Keep an eye on your skier when making any of these maneuvers.

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Quick Tips to Ponder Part 8 – Tilt and Trim

Yet another follower has emailed requesting an explanation of tilt and trim.

Tilt/Trim: I understand the basic principle of these functions, but I am not familiar with when/how to use them. For example, I usually start off with tilt fully lowered. Then, after I gain speed to my desired cruising velocity, I’m not sure what will happen if I pull the tilt up. I notice my bow pull up sometimes. And, I cannot tell what trim is doing whatsoever. Please explain basic operating functions of these features.

trimneutral.gif (3995 bytes)The trim on outboards and inboard/outboards is used to balance the boat in various conditions. As you mention, you should start with the motor in the vertical, 90 degree angle, to the water’s surface. Once you are “on plane” you can adjust the trim down or up to balance or flatten the boat. Trimming will help compensate for different conditions, weight distribution, etc.

By trimming “down”, which puts the lower unit closer to the transom, the stern will be pushed up and the bow will plow. On the other hand, if you trim “up”, meaning that the lower unit is further from the transom, the stern is pushed down and the bow is pushed up.

In smooth water with the bow trimmed “up” slightly, you may get a little more speed. In rough water you may get a slightly smoother ride with the bow trimmed down slightly. Simply put, tilt is what the outboard/outboard-inboard does. Trim is the effect that it has on the boat. Trim is the horizontal adjustment of the boat which makes the bow and stern move up and down.

See also:

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Quick Tips to Ponder Part 7 – Mooring

Gridded mooring fieldWe get many emails from fellow boaters with questions on all aspects of boating. One such question concerned the process of mooring.

“This is the first year that I will have to moor my boat off shore in a lake. Can you tell me how this is done and what to watch out for? My boat is a 25′ power boat.”

Many things depend on how you are going to get to your boat on the mooring. If there is a launch that simply drops you off, that eliminates one variable. If, however, you have a dinghy to reach the mooring, is the dinghy left there while you boat, or do you pull it behind you? The most important thing to remember when using a dinghy is not to get the dinghy painter (line) fowled in the prop of the boat.

Departing from and retrieving a mooring is much like anchoring. When departing, make sure your engine is warmed thoroughly and check other boats around you. All the boats should be pointing into the wind and/or current, whichever is greater. Make sure when you drop the mooring that you have sufficient room to get under way and establish steering control before you are blown or pushed into other boats.

Plan your departure path prior to dropping the mooring. Pull forward, into the wind or current, slowly until the mooring line is slack. I am assuming that the mooring line has a float on it so when dropped it is easy to pick up. If not, you should rig one. Once you are in a position to drop the mooring line, do so and back slowly, make your turn to a path that will lead out of the mooring area and slowly motor away.

When picking up a mooring, look at the other boats first. This will tell you the direction of wind or current, whichever is stronger. Approach slowly into the wind or current and shift to neutral when close enough to pick up the mooring line. (Don’t overshoot the mark and get the mooring line fouled in the prop.) Once the mooring line is retrieved, simply attach it securely to the bow and let the wind or current set the boat back on the mooring line.

You can find additional information on moorings and mooring procedures in Chapman Piloting and Small Boat Handling, the boater’s bible.

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Quick Tips to Ponder Part 6 – The Matter of Tonnage

When is Weight Not Weight?

Tonnage in boats and large vessels or ships has several meanings depending on what the term is referring to. It can at times be weight and at times be volume. The origin of the word in its maritime sense was the tun, a large cask in which wine was transported. The measurement of an old sailing ship was in tunnage, or the number of tuns of wine that could be carried. Following are the most commonly used definitions:

Gross tonnage is based on a vessels volume and represents the total enclosed space or internal capacity for transporting cargo. A gross ton represents 100 cubic feet.

Net tonnage is gross tonnage less the volume of spaces that will not hold cargo. In pleasure boats these spaces would be the engine compartment, helm station, etc. Net tonnage is also called registered tonnage. In order to document a vessel with the USCG it has to be a minimum of 5 net tons.

Displacement tonnage deals with weight in long tons which equal 2,240 pounds each. This is the actual weight of the boat. This can be calculated by finding the total volume of the boat below the waterline expressed in cubic feet. Divide this number by 35. (35 cubic feet of seawater weighs one long ton)

Deadweight tonnage is to displacement tonnage what net tonnage is to gross tonnage. Deadweight tonnage represents a boats cargo capacity in weight or long tons.

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