Biofuels Causing Problems For Boats

IFCA rib has been affected by fuel problems

Fuel problems have been causing issues for some boats on the islands, including the Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority’s rib.

Rib coxswain, Doug Holt, said the IFCA rib had been fitted with external fuel tanks as a temporary measure and will be taken out of the water for repairs this week.

He said other island boats, especially those with four-stroke engines, had also been affected. These include the Duchy tender and the ambulance boat, the Star of Life.

IFCA Officer Steve Watt said the problem isn’t with locally supplied fuel, but appears to be a worldwide one. It’s caused by the increasing amount of ethanol, up to 10%, now being added especially in so-called bio-fuels.

He said moist air is being drawn into the fuel tanks and this mixes with the ethanol in the fuel, causing damage and corrosion to the engine. It can become particularly marked if fuel is left in the tanks for long periods of time.

He said boaters should close vents in the tank if possible when the engine isn’t in use.

John Peacock of St Agnes Boating said he’d heard of boats having problems too. He said it’s partly due to bacteria that grows in the fuel when there is water present causing a black slime similar to pond weed in the filters and it causes the engines to stop.

He said you can stop the bug by using a fuel additive.