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Beware of E15 Fuels in Boats

Source: U.S.Coast Guard Auxiliary Public Affairs

WASHINGTON – Boaters who fuel their boats from the same pumps as their vehicle may be at risk of unknowingly or mistakenly putting 15% ethanol and 85% gasoline into an engine for which E15 has not been approved.

Only one small label is required on the pump to warn boaters of the 50 percent increase in ethanol. The Coast Guard Auxiliary recommends only fueling boats from tanks at marinas.

On January 21, 2011 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) granted a waiver that allows the percentage of ethanol in the nation’s gasoline supply to jump from 10% (E10) to 15% (E15) to be sold only for cars, SUVs and light-duty trucks made in 2001 through 2006. This decision comes on the heels of an October 13th decision to waive the limitations for so-called E15 for model-year 2007 and newer cars and light-duty trucks. This EPA waiver does not permit use of the higher alcohol content fuel in lawnmowers, chainsaws, snowmobiles, motorcycles or boats.

Many components on a boat could come in contact with ethanol-laden gasoline, including fuel lines, fuel tanks, fuel pumps, fuel injectors, carburetors, pressure regulators, valves, o-rings, and gaskets. The compatibility of these components with any blend greater than E10 is currently unknown. The failure of only one of these components in your engine could lead to failure or, worse, a fire or explosion.