This dangerous gas oven onboard Maximus, the PBO Project Boat, will definitely have to go

Is your boat gas oven safe?

“A lot of people own boat ovens like this one,” says marine surveyor Ben Sutcliffe Davies. “However, what’s worrying is when you see the gas hose being brought through the back of the cooker like this.”

During the survey of the PBO Project Boat, Maximus, Ben discovers the gas hose dates back to 1984, and isn’t reinforced but instead goes through the shielding, where there’s clear evidence of it being damaged.

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“What a lot of people don’t realise is that there are no thermal cut-outs on these ovens,” warns Ben, “So if you’re merrily sailing and the gas blows out, the gas will freely flow through this without being shut off.”

Sadly, the gas oven is going to have to go. However, the makeshift gas locker and hoses are also unsafe, and will need to be replaced with a gas installation meeting today’s safety standards.

Earlier in the survey, Ben demonstrated – through his handy ‘bucket test’ – that if you pour a bucket of water into the gas locker it leaks out of the bottom, so is not gas-tight at all. Dangerous fumes could escape into the boat, just like the water did.

“I will be doing a gas bilge check before I start work inside the boat,” he advised. “I’ve turned the gas off but I think the bucket test is well worth doing once a year just to make sure you know your gas locker is actually gas-tight to your boat.”

So, is it worth replacing the gas? What are the alternatives? Ben points out that on his boat he has a diesel stove with a blower, which means you can heat the cabin and cook from the same appliance. The diesel is drawn from the same tank as the engine. However, this is a more costly option than gas.

We’ll look carefully at the cooking options – gas, diesel, spirit and induction stoves – before we make a decision on how to cook onboard.

Look out for more stories online and in Practical Boat Owner magazine as we work though the challenges of refitting a 43-year-old boat.

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