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eggpie

Side entry gas locker

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Has anyone got a gas locker that is accessed from the cabin sides? Would making such a thing be easy?  .

The boat project I'm looking at has an extended cabin that covers what used to be the front deck, so there's no room for a gas locker. Obviously the trad stern has no room either. I'm thinking about side doors, like a hatch, that open to an enclosed steel cabinet for a couple of gas bottles. It'd only be really used for cooking, so potentially using one bottle, or two smaller ones, would be an option to make the locker smaller. 

Making sure it drains outside should be relatively easy. Is there any other BSS requirement that I'd need to be aware of? I was thinking about the retrofit hatches that kedian makes, but with an attached locker that sits in the cabin. It'd take up some headroom, but if that was in the engine room it wouldn't be in the way.

Edited by eggpie

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I have thought about this in the past and it should be straightforward to design something which meets the spirit of the BSS, but the letter may be more difficult. I'm sure I've seen a requirement somewhere that side doors in gas lockers must have seals around them and a separate drain provided. Fine if gas from the door would drain to the interior of the boat, but for the cabin side version you are proposing a loose fitting door with a gap along the bottom should be more than adequate. 

Might be worth sketching up your proposal and asking the BSS folk for an opinion.

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No direct experience, but there is a boat on my mooring which has what you describe.  The boat is a trad, with the gas locker door on the side. I don't know what it is like inside.

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Seen a few around with side lockers. Needs to be totally gas tight to the interior of the cabin and drain any leak gas overboard in a position where it cannot enter the boat through vents, rear or front doors, windows. Jay Walker 2 1/2 (it was 2 until it was lengthened! ) in Macclesfield Marina is one, passes BSS.

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The first Liverpool boats had this design, before they started using the front swoosh and domed roof. Far easier to access the gas if the towpath/pontoon is that side.

So long as it is entirely sealed off from the boat interior, it is acceptable for the BSS.

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1 hour ago, eggpie said:

Is there any other BSS requirement that I'd need to be aware of?

Yes - Gas locker must be gas tight as high as the top of the gas-cylinder and it would not be easy to convince the inspector that a side door would achieve that.

 

Read section 7:2 of the regs.

Side‐opening lockers must not be able to be
opened from the interior of the vessel.
The seals of any side‐opening cylinder locker door
must be free of signs of gaps in the contact with
the locker body and must be free of damage or
deterioration.
Door seals with no signs of gaps or damage must
satisfy check 7.2.4 or pass the smoke pellet test.

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2 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

Yes - Gas locker must be gas tight as high as the top of the gas-cylinder and it would not be easy to convince the inspector that a side door would achieve that.

 

Read section 7:2 of the regs.

Side‐opening lockers must not be able to be
opened from the interior of the vessel.
The seals of any side‐opening cylinder locker door
must be free of signs of gaps in the contact with
the locker body and must be free of damage or
deterioration.
Door seals with no signs of gaps or damage must
satisfy check 7.2.4 or pass the smoke pellet test.

Which is sensible if the side door is located anywhere where escaping gas could enter the boat. But if it is halfway along the cabin side, any escaping gas would just flow over the gunwale. No door seal needed.

Or you could construct a side locker without doors. That way the gas bottle would be entirely outside the shell. And no different really to the sort of gas bottle bracket sometimes seen on the transom of small cruisers.

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I've seen them on some Piper boats. Not had a chance to see what door sealing is used, but I reckon it could be done with car type door, or boot seals on a suitable welded lip. They need a low level vent to direct any escaping gas overboard anyway.

Jen

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4 minutes ago, Jen-in-Wellies said:

I've seen them on some Piper boats. Not had a chance to see what door sealing is used, but I reckon it could be done with car type door, or boot seals on a suitable welded lip. They need a low level vent to direct any escaping gas overboard anyway.

Jen

Why couldn’t the doors just be an inch short, effecting the vent that way? Someone else suggested this earlier. 

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12 minutes ago, Jen-in-Wellies said:

I've seen them on some Piper boats. Not had a chance to see what door sealing is used, but I reckon it could be done with car type door, or boot seals on a suitable welded lip. They need a low level vent to direct any escaping gas overboard anyway.

 

7 minutes ago, WotEver said:

Why couldn’t the doors just be an inch short, effecting the vent that way? Someone else suggested this earlier. 

Yes, What is the logic of having seals up the door sides and a gap along the bottom?

  • Happy 1

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Exactly! Is 7.2.3 (which Alan quotes above) meant to apply only to side opening lockers on a deck, not outside? The 2005 BSS guide also says (after 7.2.1)  "Best practice : Lockers that open from the top or from the outside of the boat are easier to make and keep LPG-tight. "

Edited by eggpie

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I have this arrangement on my Piper boat (Jen is right about those). The gas locker is essentially a box welded into the side of the boat (the bottom plate being just above the gunwale) and therefore sealed from it.   The calorifier sits in the internal space below accessed from a full height cupboard in the galley, and the innermost face backs onto my shower. The doors are not sealed and don't need to be as they open to the atmosphere. The gap beneath the doors acts as the low level drain overboard required by BSS  and similar boaty regs in case of a leak of (heavier than air) gas, like WotEver suggests above.

In my view it a really good idea. The pipe run to the cooker is only about a metre; there's no danger of your vent being submerged, shipping and unshipping bottles is at a very manageable height.  Ensuring that you are Port side to when you need gas is not an issue as some might think - if you can't find anywhere to do this in the time it takes to empty the whole of a second 13kg bottle that only feeds a cooker there's something wrong. The potential downside is that you may need to go along the gunwale to turn the gas on or off if your mooring is starboard side to - mine is as it happens, but it's no drama.

Hope that helps.

 

  • Greenie 1

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I suppose that side entry lockers could be fitted overlooking a rear cruiser deck on a rear bulkhead. Then you would definitely need seals and a seperate drain overboard to take out the risk of gas in the engine hole. A side hatch in the cabin would naturally drain overboard as long as it was away from any openings in to the cabin or other spaces and then sealing wouldn't be needed and the rules for bottles mounted outside apply, such as securing and protection of the valve.

Jen

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2 minutes ago, eggpie said:

Exactly! Is 7.2.3 (which Alan quotes above) meant to apply only to side opening lockers on a deck, not outside? The 2005 BSS guide also says (after 7.2.1)  "Best practice : Lockers that open from the top or from the outside of the boat are easier to make and keep LPG-tight. "

My reading is that they should only open externally to the boat - ie from the pontoon or tow-path.

Internally could be read as 'inside the confines of the boat' ie into a well deck .

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14 minutes ago, WotEver said:

Why couldn’t the doors just be an inch short, effecting the vent that way? Someone else suggested this earlier. 

As I said above, you're right (you do that a lot).  The gap is hardly noticeable though - think of whatever the typical tube vent in the bottom of a locker is and stretch it out a couple of feet or so and we're talking millimetres. The locker actually look exactly the same as my side doors.

3 minutes ago, Jen-in-Wellies said:

I suppose that side entry lockers could be fitted overlooking a rear cruiser deck on a rear bulkhead. Then you would definitely need seals and a seperate drain overboard to take out the risk of gas in the engine hole. A side hatch in the cabin would naturally drain overboard as long as it was away from any openings in to the cabin or other spaces and then sealing wouldn't be needed and the rules for bottles mounted outside apply, such as securing and protection of the valve.

Jen

Just so Jen - the side hatch is exactly the Piper design.

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30 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

Yes - Gas locker must be gas tight as high as the top of the gas-cylinder and it would not be easy to convince the inspector that a side door would achieve that.

 

A side opening door is possible providing a fixed panel of the cylinder height prevents any gas leaking from the locker into the boat. 

gasloc10.jpg

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40 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

Internally could be read as 'inside the confines of the boat' ie into a well deck .

Which is exactly what 7.2.4 seems to be checking. And 7.2.3 says  "Door seals with no signs of gaps or damage must
satisfy check 7.2.4 or pass the smoke pellet test." 

As everyone has said, there's no point having seals on an external side opening locker that's required to have a drain to the outside anyway

Edited by eggpie

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Correct me if I'm missing something blindingly obvious, but on a canal where you can't turn and the towpath is on one side only, won't it be on the "wrong" side to easily access, 50% of the time?

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2 minutes ago, Paul C said:

Correct me if I'm missing something blindingly obvious, but on a canal where you can't turn and the towpath is on one side only, won't it be on the "wrong" side to easily access, 50% of the time?

Sea Dog addressed that in #12. One of your bottles runs out. You now have x weeks to replace it. If you can’t find a supplier on the correct side in that time then you probably ain’t cruising very much. 

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6 minutes ago, Paul C said:

Correct me if I'm missing something blindingly obvious, but on a canal where you can't turn and the towpath is on one side only, won't it be on the "wrong" side to easily access, 50% of the time?

It just means walking along a slippery gunwale with a heavy gas bottle in one hand and a spanner in the other. What could possibly go wrong?

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1 hour ago, Jen-in-Wellies said:

It just means walking along a slippery gunwale with a heavy gas bottle in one hand and a spanner in the other. What could possibly go wrong?

Gas cylinders float, even when full. Just tow it along on a line.

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2 hours ago, Alan de Enfield said:

Yes - Gas locker must be gas tight as high as the top of the gas-cylinder

 

Which of course is ridiculous and contradictory as another of the BSS regs require the gas locker to have a gas drain to overboard at the bottom, thereby rendering every gas locker not gas tight. 

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2 hours ago, WotEver said:

Sea Dog addressed that in #12. One of your bottles runs out. You now have x weeks to replace it. If you can’t find a supplier on the correct side in that time then you probably ain’t cruising very much. 

Exactly. I've certainly never been caught out by it. Of course, if the source of replacement bottles was only accessible starboard side to, then it wouldn't take much to move the empty to the catch or stern deck whilst port side to.  That bottle could be then swapped at the supplier when starboard side to and later returned to the locker when port side to again. Hardly challenging, but also hardly necessary.

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2 minutes ago, David Mack said:

But storing a full or empty gas bottle in the cratch or on a (cruiser) stern deck would be in breach of the BSS.

 

Indeed.

On the other hand, you'd think storing a full gas bottle in the living room of a basement flat, in a non-gas-tight box with live gas flames burning in the front panel would also breach a gas regulation somehow, somewhere. But there are 'mobile heaters' are sold for specifically this purpose. 

I'd say the risk of storing an unconnected gas bottle in the cratch or on the stern deck is trivial. 

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