LPG or paraffin refrigerators on boats with petrol engines

The provisions of this section of Part 8 in the 2002 BSS Standards are mandatory for non-private boats where applicable.

There have been numerous explosions resulting from the use of gas refrigerators with naked flames on petrol-powered boats. The low level permanent flame of a pilot light or burner could be the prime source of ignition for any stray petrol fuel or vapour. To prevent this happening the pilot lights and burners on LPG or paraffin refrigerators installed in boats with a petrol engine must be completely enclosed by a suitable flame trap.

When starting to re-fuel, a flash explosion occurred that blew out the cabin windows and injured a woman, though fortunately no fire started. It was determined that even with the petrol pump nozzle fully inserted into the deck fuel connection, sufficient petrol vapour was produced to rise over the 175mm coaming, travel along the cockpit floor and into the cabin to be ignited by the permanent low-level burner flame on a LPG fridge. Before starting to fill, the pump attendant had asked specifically if any appliances were operating on board and was told “no”. [8.2]

Combustion air and combustion products must be drawn and expelled through a suitable flame trap. Alternatively, combustion air can be piped to the appliance from outside the vessel, or from a point inside the vessel above the level of any opening to the outside air. [8.2]