The gas locker and gas hoses on Maximus, the PBO Project Boat, are dangerous – just watch what happens when we empty a bucket of water in there!
Is your gas locker safe? If it looks anything like this one then it’s not…
In this video, marine surveyor Ben Sutcliffe-Davies inspects the gas locker of Maximus, the PBO Project Boat, and explains how to do the bucket test… every boat owner should do one!
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This Maxi 84 cruiser is 43 years old, and though the gas hoses aren’t as old as the boat they are over 20 years old, and have perished. There’s visible cracking on the hose.
“It’s recommended you change gas hoses like this every five years. Some people say 10, but frankly for the sake of a couple of quid’s worth of hose, I don’t see the point in the argument,” says Ben.
Not only are the gas hoses unsafe, but there’s a makeshift gas locker – basically, a plywood box with a hole in the side of it to relieve the water and fumes.
“I’ll be honest with you, it’s not the greatest idea, especially with the way it’s been done,” says Ben. “It’s not even fibreglass-lined, so there’s no guarantee it’s leak-proof… if you were to chuck the water in here I suspect it would leak everywhere.”
To test this theory, Ben does what he calls the ‘bucket test’.
“It doesn’t matter what age boat you’ve got, this is something you can always do with any gas locker,” he says, and empties a bucket of water into the plywood box. Sure enough, it pours right out.
“The gas locker is pointless,” he concludes. “It’s not water-tight. Any gas fumes are going to leak into the boat.”
Before Ben can carry on with the survey, he now needs to use his gas detector wand, to check it’s safe to continue down below.
“I will be doing a gas bilge check before I start work inside the boat,” he advises. “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.”
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