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Posted by on Sep 20, 2012 in Ask the Expert, Boat Equipment, Powerboating, Safety and Seamanship, Sailing, UK, US |

Why Can’t I Use My LPG Tank Locker for Storage?

Even if there's room in your LPG locker for extra gear, don't be tempted to put it in there.

LPG Locker-sherman

Loose objects stored in the LPG locker can bounce around in a seaway, damaging gauges and connections, and possibly causing a gas leak.

Question: My new boat has a really nice storage locker in the cockpit for storing my LPG bottles. The picture below shows the locker. As you can see in the photo, there is plenty of extra room in the locker that I can use to store small cleaning supply bottles, brushes and the like. Unfortunately, the warning label you can see in the lower center of the photo tells me not to store anything other than the bottles in the locker. What’s the problem here?

Answer: I’ve written about this topic before (see LPG Locker Storage), but the question comes up often enough that it’s worth covering again. ABYC Standard A-1, which covers on-board LPG systems, does prohibit the use of bottle storage lockers for anything other than the bottles themselves, and system-related components such as pressure regulators, gauges, and electric shut-off switches. Unfortunately, boat builders sometimes do make these lockers a bit larger than they need to be at times, and this opens the door to temptation. Shore cables, fishing lures, scrub brushes, and all manner of small gear inevitably end up in the lockers as a result. The risk is that in a seaway, things inside the locker will get bounced around and could damage a gauge or pressure regulator valve and induce a leak in the LPG system.

The best bet for boat builders is to carefully size their LPG lockers so there is no excess space for things other than LPG equipment. That would remove the temptation. In my role working for the ABYC, I can only tell you to follow the advice on your boat’s warning label. The warning is given for good reason.

- Ed Sherman