A fuel dock may be considered an amenity to some boaters, but it is a tangible added value to a marina, yacht club or boatyard. Though fueling services come with many positives, there are also exposures associated with flammable liquids, namely fires and explosions, and even spillage, which can create the potential for contamination and cleanup obligations.
While fuel dispensing seemingly happens all of the time, the operation should never be taken for granted. Here are some safety basics and best practices that come from established standards (National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 30A, NFPA 303 and National Water Safety Congress):
Some marine facilities allow unattended fuel dispensing and this reality makes the risk management procedures set forth herein even more critical to be observed at all times, especially when the boat owner is handling the operation without assistance from facility staff.
The following steps, highlighting standard safety practices, should be known by all employees involved with fueling, as well as posted on proper signage in a prominent area of the fuel dock:
If the boat owner intends to fill up portable fuel tanks, they should be removed from the boat and filled on the fuel dock. Make sure the tanks are approved for this purpose.
A fuel dock is a great addition to a marina, yacht club, or boatyard and can be a real convenience for their members and guests, but maintaining a safe environment and consistent procedures is vital to its success. By making sure your employees are trained in all of the methods above, you are taking proactive measures to minimize risk at your fuel dock.
For more tips on fueling, as well as launching, housekeeping, managing docks, and other key aspects of marina safety, download our Achieving a Safe & Well-Maintained Marina tip sheet here.
Barry Tarnef is a Vice President and Senior Marine Specialist at Chubb. He has designations in Risk Management, Inland and Ocean Marine Insurance and Claims, and is a Certified Marine Surveyor (NAMS).
The opinions and positions expressed are the authors’ own and not those of Chubb. The information and/ or data provided herein is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice. Insurance coverage is subject to the language of the policies as issued.