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Long-range fuel considerations

Dec 31, 2015

Here are the key points on carrying extra fuel in fuel bladders: 

• Know exactly how many gallons of diesel your standard fuel tanks can hold — calibrate the sight glasses for accuracy and use a flow meter to verify volume.

• Have a means to draw out and consume all of the fuel in your standard tanks, you need to be able to use every last drop.

• Do several runs at full load to measure your fuel burn underway at various rpm so you can calculate your range — totals for engine(s) and generator(s) at different speeds.

• Create an accurate rpm/fuel burn chart so you can easily reference your consumption and range.

• Plan your trip in advance based on point-to-point mileage distance (add 10 percent to allow for wave/seas and steering offsets) and know in advance what fuel replenishment resources are available upon arrival.

• Calculate your fuel consumption on your passage to arrive at your destination with a minimum of 10 percent in reserve — you can’t afford to run out and don’t want to coast in on fumes.

•Start your trip off slowly so you reach the halfway point with more than half of your fuel supply remaining to complete the trip. 

• Supplemental fuel reserves must be properly installed so they are secured in place, minimally affect at-sea rolling and have a low center of gravity.

• Position your reserve fuel so it can easily refill your standard tanks without allowing saltwater ingress and time your refills during calm sea conditions. 

Jeff Merrill 

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