Liquefied petroleum gas--generally propane in the United States--is the most convenient cooking fuel for a boat. It is available almost everywhere. It requires no pumping or preheating--just turn the knob and light the burner. The heat is adjustable by lowering the flame.
On a boat, LPG is also, by far, the most dangerous cooking fuel. Propane and butane are heavier than air, so they "spill" like water. However, the popularity of LPG attests that you can minimize the risk of explosion with a proper installation and good safety habits.
The best place for a propane tank is in a vapor-tight locker isolated from the rest of the boat. The gas locker must open only above deck and must have a drain at the bottom to let leaking gas escape over the side. The drain outlet needs to be located away from any other hull opening and where it will always be above the water, even when the boat is heeled. Fiberglass or aluminum tanks are more suitable than steel for the marine environment.
As a rule of thumb, expect to use about 1 pound of propane per person per week cooking three meals a day. So a full 10-pound tank should last a crew of two at least 5 weeks.
A pressure gauge is an essential safety feature, and it must be the first thing connected to the valve on top of the bottle. It can be mounted directly on the bottle or installed on the locker wall and connected to the bottle with a high-pressure pigtail.
To operate the system, the valve on the tank must be open. From inside the cabin, a flip of the solenoid switch allows the gas into the supply hose that feeds the stove. Open the burner valve and light the flame. When you are through cooking, leave one burner ignited and turn off the solenoid. When the burner goes out, close the burner valve. This empties the line of gas so that none will leak into the bilge should a burner valve fail to seal.
If you will leave the boat unattended for a while, it is a good practice to close the valve on the tank to eliminate all risk of undetected leakage.
If you are using the stove regularly, you should make a habit of testing the system for leaks. Once a week is not too often.
To test the system, operate the stove, then close all the burner valves, but leave the solenoid switch on. Read the pressure gauge, then turn off the manual valve on the tank. After 3 minutes, read the pressure again. If it is unchanged, wait 15 minutes and read it again. Any drop in pressure indicates a leak that must be located (with soapy water) and stopped. If the system is leak-free, reopen the tank valve, light a burner, then shut off the solenoid as normal.
The weather outside is getting warmer and warmer. We are beginning to see more activity around the marina and with opening day right around the corner things will only get busier.
We will begin restriping the parking lot soon, so keep an eye out for signage as notices with be put up around the marina as soon as we are ready to start. If there are any other maintenance issues around the marina that need attention, please let us know.
Alameda is the first community in the Bay Area to become involved in Relay for Life and is marking its 19th year of participation. The city has raised more than $1 million in the fight against cancer.
During the 24-hour event, which will be held June 22-23 at Encinal High School, up to 40 teams walk non-stop around the track, with each team having a member on the field at all times.
Activities will be set up around the track, at team campsites and at the Fight Back Tent, including informational tables, games and other activities geared toward cancer prevention and awareness, as well as to raise money.
At dusk, luminaries will be placed around the track in remembrance of loved ones fighting cancer and those lost.
On Sunday, the Closing Ceremony is a time to remember the lives of those lost and to celebrate that each of us has committed, through our participation in a Relay event, to fight back against this disease over the next year.
And for the past eight years Grand Marina's very own Dockmaster, Ray Corral will be there for the entire event. Ray would be proud to walk a lap or two with anyone from the marina who stops by to show their support.
Tenants who choose to make a contribution to the Relay for Life can drop off donations (canned goods, money) to the Grand Marina office and it will be delivered to the Cancer Society care of Ray. And remember, anything helps!