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Just Say NO! to a Propane Refrigerator Aboard a Boat!

Captain Chris Yacht Services
Just Say NO! to a Propane Refrigerator Aboard a Boat!
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Dual powered refrigeration or triple powered- that is the question.

Most boats have an AC/DC refrigerator that will use battery power or 110 volts of power from the generator or shore power, all to operate the compressor.

This boat has an RV style propane and AC/DC refrigerator which is contrary to ABYC safety standards for boats. Look at the photos below for clues when you are boat shopping. And just in case you are wondering, we checked with an international insurance provider who said they would not write a policy on this type of installation.

Controversial? Yes. But we believe in safety first. Can you imagine arcing and sparking from alternators, starters or air conditioning water pumps with propane fumes lurking in the bilge of your boat? Neither can I!

Yes, this refrigerator set up can be used safely in an RV application. But aboard a boat this is not safe due to the heavy property of propane gas which will sink into the bilge.
While the propane refrigerator may seem to be properly vented, this is contrary to ABYC standards for marine use.
In addition to being a trip hazard on the cabin deck, this vented chimney raises the question why?
As I boarded the boat I asked the owner what is that vent for? He said it's an over-the-stove vent llike you'd have in your house. As we entered the galley, the other photos show otherwise.
This propane tank does not meet ABYC installation and operation specifications. The tank is not secured to prevent it from falling over in any sea. Additionally the propane regulator/pressure gauge and electric on/off valve is not installed properly.
     

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