Marina refuelling – safety first!

Thousands of small boats are fuelled at marinas on our rivers, lakes and seashores. This article looks at the challenges faced by site owners and why choosing the right dispensing equipment is crucial for health and safety of boaters.

There are the usual health and safety considerations associated with storing and dispensing fuel, such as fire safety and environmental protection. However the very nature of refuelling, with the close proximity to water, creates additional hazards and increased environmental concerns. Additionally, many recreational lakes and rivers are also a source of drinking water and, as a consequence, require extra regulations for the refuelling points; to combat pollutants entering the waterways.

When forecourt fuel spills occur, a quick and easy clean-up can be actioned, usually in the form of sand being scattered over the affected area to soak up the fuel and later swept away for safe disposal. However, this is not the case for spillage at a marina refuelling point, as even a few small drops entering the water leaves a tell-tale iridescent, rainbow effect on the surface. Whilst unlikely to pose a contamination threat, it is extremely undesirable.

Guidance to help site owners ensure boaters’ safety

  • Any fuel dispensing equipment should be located a sufficient distance from other structures, to allow safe access of boats to be fuelled.
  • Dispensers should be a minimum of 7.5 metres from any other marina activity not associated with the handling of fuel.
  • Only approved dispensing units should be used, and may be located on open or solid-fill piers, wharves, floating docks or onshore.
  • All nozzles should be fitted with a self-closing control valve (automatic shut-off) with a lever guard to prevent accidental dispensing.
  • To prevent a trip hazard, it is advisable that extra-long fuel hoses are stored on a heavy-duty, retractable reel (preferably stainless steel, to avoid corrosion) and ideally have piping disconnects with automatic shut-off valves in case of breakage.
  • Ensure a fire extinguisher is readily available.

Guidance to help boaters refuel safely

  • Adhere to any marina guidance and rules regarding refuelling on the site.
  • Ensure that no one is on the vessel during refuelling.
  • Operate the dispenser by hand only. Do not attempt to jam the nozzle in the open position.
  • To prevent petrol vapour pooling in the confines of the boat, close all windows, hatches, and doors. Also turn off all cooking appliances and other ignition sources before removing tank cap.
  • Avoid decanting petrol from containers where possible.
  • Maintain contact between the hose nozzle and filler neck to avoid static sparks.
  • Only restart the engine when satisfied the boat is free from flammable vapours.
  • Do not overfill the tank to avoid overflow, and use a drip tray to catch droplets of fuel.
  • Do not smoke in the refuelling area.

Getting it right

TSG UK is here to guide marina operators through the exacting task of choosing the right equipment for their operation. Whilst environmental safety is always a priority, this should not mean sacrificing reliability and efficiency. TSG UK can supply, install and maintain dispensers from the Tokheim QuantiumTM range, that incorporate advanced metering and durable materials to provide long-lasting performance, even in the harshest conditions.

Quantium dispensers, ordered to marina specification, boast corrosion-proof, bright annealed, stainless steel outer panels; plus an optional epoxy resin coating for internal components, to provide long-lasting protection against saltwater and air.

Additionally, for unmanned marina fuelling points, TSG offers the Tokheim Crypto VGATM outdoor payment system, that facilitates the payment of fuel prior to dispensing and incorporates a robust set of anti-fraud mechanisms.

For more information about TSG UK and its products and solutions visit:

TSG Marina
Article featured image: click to enlarge

Go back

Return to Industry Articles