Living with Gas Boat Cookers

Gas boat cookers (or stoves) vary enormously in build quality, design quality, durability – and of course, cost. And it can be a risky business, cooking at sea. Where else but on a sailboat would you even contemplate handling boiling liquids and hot metal utensils on a rolling, lurching platform?

Oven doors that fly open, burners that blow out and leak gas, gimbals that don’t, grill pans that slide out, pans that leap off the hob (that’s ‘range’ in the US) and parts that corrode and fall apart.

These very real risks can all be avoided in a well designed and constructed boat gas appliance.

There’s no doubt that LPG (Liquid Petroleum Gas) in either butane or propane form is the most popular fuel and were it not for its explosive nature, the case for it would be overwhelming.

While other fuels – paraffin (kerosene) which sometimes difficult to come by and the much less efficient methylated spirits (alcohol) are inherently safer, a properly designed and installed LPG system will mitigate the safety issues to acceptable levels.

Such a system will incorporate the following features…

  • A dedicated gas bottle locker, ventilated to the atmosphere, draining overboard and sealed from the rest of the vessel. The gas bottles will be firmly secured within it.
  • The regulator will be mounted on the bulkhead within the locker, rather than screwed directly into the bottle. A pair of bottles can then be connected to it via a double manifold and high-pressure hose, enabling easy change-over from one bottle to the other.
  • A remotely operated 12v solenoid switch to turn the gas supply off when considered prudent.
  • A bubbler type leak detector (not shown on the sketch) to check daily the gas integrity of the installation.
  • A simple manual turn-off tap close to the boat cooker

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About the Author: Katelyn Orourke

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