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Where to buy fuel and get a deal?

Discussion in 'General Yachting Discussion' started by Captain Nemo, Nov 11, 2010.

  1. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Now your question makes sense K1W1. I've been educated. Thanks. Truth is though that the type of fuel used by the 1,000 gal. tank boats is not under their control, so we just depend on the fueling station. We just hope it's clean and fresh; not a thought to flashpoint and I've never seen a boater test it unless or until there is a problem. Apparently the insurance companies don't consider it an issue as I've never seen the question come up. There are however regulations on what can be served. So I'd guess that's all handled on the land side. If however ones has the truck pull up to the boat I can see how that would be a concern.
  2. Fishtigua

    Fishtigua Senior Member

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    I've just googled our local suppliers, Rubis (French) and Total (Everywhere else) and cannot find what grade fuel, commercial or leisure, they supply. I'll phone them when I go to the office on Monday.

    It never crossed my mind to check for EN 509 ratings in Europe, I thought it was EU regulated now.
  3. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Over here in the US, fuel docks on the water sell what is called "offroad diesel". Now, up until a few years ago offroad diesel was high sulfer diesel. Then the EPA passed a mandate and the "offroad diesel" is now low sulfer diesel fuel (similar to what we used to sell for cars a few years back). It is died red, and what you'll find at 99.9% of the fuel docks on the water. It is what it is, and you cannot find anything else......I believe it has a cetane rating of 36. The diesel on the road, now has gone to ultra low sulfer diesel.

    I have heard absolutely nothing about the insurance companies and fuel. However they cannot say anything over here, because it is what the fuel docks on the water have to sell.
  4. Bamboo

    Bamboo Senior Member

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    Yep you are right- I missed that- but first we are talking gallons and KIWI introduced "lts"- which no-one in the USA uses- and that is what we are talking about- fueling about 1000 gallons in the USA.
    X2
    Never once have I seen a boat under 90 feet in the USA while or before fueling ask about fuel flash points or do anything KIWI suggested, nor have the insurance companies required the master of such smaller vessels to inquire as to this AFAIK. Complicating fueling with these issues which do not apply to the vessel in question at least confuses/worries/ the OP or other readers.
  5. Seafarer

    Seafarer Senior Member

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    It's been a few years since I've messed about with the various oils, but #2 Diesel for off-road and #2 home heating oil were essentially the same with the same dye, just differing in their tax paid. #1 diesel, for on-road, was a lighter fuel. The lighter fuel had - generally - a 10-20 degree lower flash point, as low as 110F in winter blends.

    Now, if we want to get into flash points, we're going to have to discuss blending formulas (winter or summer) and additives and countless other irrelevant tangents.

    When we hauled, Chevron, Sunoco, Mobil, Coastal, and Shell all came out of the same terminal rack. They had slightly different additives blended in accordance with brand specs, and each one had slight differences in flash points as a result. Summertime rule of thumb was 150-170 flash point, and winter was 130-150 for off-road and heating oil applications.
  6. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    Hi,

    Seafarer, You are right on with your numbers, the dye system I am familiar with is generally for non tax paid fuel. I recall taking Exxon from Tropic Oil in Miami and the fuel we had was still a pink colour after 5 more bunkerings.

    The problem we now encounter is the wide spread use of Automotive Diesel which is simply re marketed as MGO. It often comes with an MGO Spec sheet and there isn't much we can test before loading it except Flash Point. We take 4 samples one of which goes to FOBAS, it takes days for the results to come back and we have often sailed when we find that we have a non spec load onboard.

    We tend to bunker more often these days when we know we have good fuel with a Flash Point over 60 C or 140 F so we can do a bit of a rough blend onboard. Unfortunately this is not always possible.

    I am still curious to know what exactly the Fuel Docks are delivering to boats on your side of the pond.

    Simply burying your head in the sand and saying there is no control over it does not answer the question nor does repeated slagging off my posts.

    Mods, If you would like to move all my posts in this thread and those related to the questions I have asked to another thread I would be appreciative.

    I think one of the contributors here is not too happy with what I am posting as he keeps reminding everyone that I am off topic.
  7. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Your question probably does belong in a different thread, however, I for one have learned from your question and statements. It may be useless trivia in my world however, but I thank you anyway. You see, the answer you seek wouldn't be known by the average consumer and probably not even by the fuel dock operator (unless they have way too much free time). It's regulated by the state. They do the checking at the refineries, transfer locations, on the trucks and at the pumps. The consumer has no say whatsoever. He gets what is sold. If bad fuel is bought a complaint is filed and an investigation runs backwards through that chain.
  8. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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    I often check with the fuel docks in Fort Lauderdale that cater to the larger boats - as well as little boats - to make sure that they are delivering marine diesel with >60C flashpoint fuel. They are. If it is sold as marine diesel fuel it has to have a flash point above 60C. The bunker receipts they provide all have shown flashpoint above 60C.

    Have I tested it myself or sent samples in? No.
  9. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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    One gallon or a hundred thousand gallons, a low flash point can still have the same disastrous effect.

    The insurance company might never say anything until you ask them to pay for a burned out wreck that an investigator could attribute to a fire caused by too low a flash point fuel. Does your engine manual say anything about using marine diesel fuel? If it's a little American yacht, what does ABYC say about it? If you use automotive fuel are you following the practices suggested by ABYC and USCG references to NFPA regarding fuel systems?
  10. Seafarer

    Seafarer Senior Member

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    This, while part of a tangential discussion, is a germane question. Flash points aside, your question is not simply answered because there is no single unified standard. Between EPA and CARB and other regulating entities as well as various state tax policies, what is to be found at one fuel dock may not be the same as another. There are minimum standards to meet with regards to sulfur and paraffin and other compounds in the fuel, but no unified code for much beyond that.

    In New York State, recreational boaters must pay sales tax on fuel. Tax exempt commercial boats can apply for a tax refund. Exempt ferry boats have to use tax paid fuel, and apply for tax rebates quarterly or annually, but exempt commercial fisheries licensed boats do not need to run tax paid fuel. A dock selling only to commercial fisheries or other non-tax paying entities such as tugs and ships does not need to have tax paid fuel available, last I knew - of course, many things change when you're not paying attention to these things every day and policies can be missed or overlooked. A dock selling to primarily those types but also the general public must have tax paid fuel. A dock selling to primarily recreational or non-commercial boats must be dispensing taxed fuel.

    Rather than trying to recite the phase-in of ULSD for off-road use from memory and being in error, I'll redirect you here: http://www.clean-diesel.org/nonroad.html

    This doesn't answer the question of exactly what fuel is coming from the pump, however. If I'm remembering correctly, MGO is somewhere between #2 and #3 oil and since #3 isn't really in use much of anywhere, I suspect most marinas are just going to go with clear road diesel since that's what's most commonly available. Until you get to commercial ports, there's not a high likelihood of MGO flowing from the pumps. #4 is definitely not going to be available dockside unless you're in a shipping port.
  11. Seafarer

    Seafarer Senior Member

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    ... Bearing in mind, of course, that NFPA can offer recommendations and guidelines but has no enforcement authority nor are NFPA standards requirements in most instances ( example of an exception, insurers may require adherence to NFPA standards in their policy terms).

    Based on my admittedly ancient history (prior to 1998) in the liquid bulk transport business, I don't recall the marina operators we dealt with being chemical engineers or fuel specialists. Nor were the minimum wage dock boys who find tying boats off to cleats with haphazard "knots" then handing off hoses a noisome interruption to their suntanning schedule.

    How is a typical small yacht owner to determine flash point based on the many layers of ignorance between the nozzle and the refinery?
  12. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    Hi,

    Marmot, You are in the big boat business AFAIK

    Do you ask your clients to submit a sample to FOBAS?

    Do supplier supplies always match the Spec Sheet?
  13. yotphix

    yotphix New Member

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    K1W1: Now You have me curious. I believe that you said you would send in your samples and bunker anyway, and sometimes be underway before you received the results. I wonder what was the value in that.
    I also wonder what you do when you arrive at a port where the options are Dock A, or Dock A. On the West Coast this is frequently the case. When we go from San Diego to Panama we have absolutely no choices at any of our four stops.
    It is interesting to note that there is a discrepancy here. You say that throwing up our hands and saying there is nothing we can do doesn't help. Ok, I'll bite. What does help? What do you do with the thousands of gallons of underspec fuel you take?
    I mean no disrespect here but you are holding out on us.
  14. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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    The USCG incorporates ABYC and NFPA guidelines "by reference" in many CFRs. When those guidelines are referenced, they become law.

    No one at the fuel dock has to be a chemist. There is a paper trail for every load of fuel coming from the distributor and the retailer you buy it from has a copy of the delivery note. If it is sold as marine diesel fuel it must have a flashpoint over 60C and you, as the vessel loading that fuel can ask for and receive a copy of the spec sheet for the last delivery. You can also take samples during the transfer and submit those samples for testing if you desire.
  15. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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    If the supplier is one of the well known marine fuel sources the engineer does not usually submit a fuel sample for verification, he or she just retains the transfer samples.

    The few times that fuel samples have been submitted have returned reports that match the delivery note.
  16. Seafarer

    Seafarer Senior Member

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    As a former transporter of fuel to many marinas, I can unequivocally state that you are incorrect as to this point: There is no spec sheet for each small delivery load, only for a minimum standard of fuel delivered under the brand name on the pump. For unbranded fuel, the terminal makes available minimum standards but does not include this information on a standard bill of lading.

    In most cases, fueling of the marina is carried out by lowest cost common carrier. In some cases, it's by contract carrier all painted up with the brand's colors. For these trucks, DOT requires such things as UN number (how many different liquids are classified as 1993?), standardized product information sheet, quantity loaded, time loaded, destination, purchaser, and product common name... but not specifics of the 5, 8, or 14,000 gallons (as the larger tri-axles here in the northeast carry). The MSDS, as you surely know, is a standardized form giving close and fairly accurate but often imprecise numbers.

    When dealing with small fuel peddlers like recreational marinas, the closest you are typically going to get if you press is sampling information for the last load of several hundred thousand or a million gallons pumped into the 5 million or larger gallon storage tank before being through the additive lines before being pumped through the rack into the various different delivery trucks. For more detail, you will have to conduct your own sampling at the end user point, unless you have prior arrangements to store your load of fuel specifically and hold it aside pending approval.

    I'm not sure of any carrier in business today who will park their trucks for free in the off chance that you might accept a load of fuel for which they earn nothing unless it moves. If the miles aren't going on, the trucks are losing money. And as an obvious point, if you're bunkering off the terminal's loading dock, I'm sure you're going to be able to get the information more easily.

    Now as for Marine Diesel Fuel, you and I and K1W1 all know that that is a fuel that is less likely than Jesus Christ to appear at a recreational boating fuel dock. Why must you so consistently play these pathetic gotcha games and try to belittle or demean every user on this forum who is not you?
  17. Bamboo

    Bamboo Senior Member

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    Here's the subject folks... is your post applicable and helpful to the OP? :)
  18. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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    Woke up a bit testy today did we?

    For what it's worth, there is a spec for every tank of fuel at the distributor. The retailer of marine diesel fuel has, or can obtain, the fuel spec for the load he is about to pay for. He is required to provide a copy of it to the master of any vessel that asks. It is part of marine fuel bunkering.

    And yes, that doesn't mean that each truck is tested but the tank it came out of is tested before and after each load from the pipeline or tankship is pumped into it. That is the spec the end user will get.

    Every marine diesel retailer with a dock in this area was happy to supply the sulfur and flash point specs for the last load delivered when I asked for them and like I wrote earlier, I call them all to determine what the latest specs are because it is very important to our clients.

    Just because you drove a gas truck in New Jersey doesn't mean the way you or a local bubba handled the documentation and quality control is the way a master or engineer of a large yacht, or even a small one, has to do it.

    Belittle or play "gotcha"? No, just trying to provide accurate answers to questions. You seem to be playing "gotcha" because you figure the way you used to do something is the right way or the only way. And telling people that they can't get that information for the asking is what I call pathetic.

    Just for your sake, I will repeat my statement: "If the fuel is sold as marine diesel fuel and loaded onboard a vessel, the master of that vessel can (and should) ask for the spec sheet for that fuel. The retailer can call the trucking company to get that information from the distributor. I'm sure it will slow the process and annoy the fuel dock kid but, tough, the price of that information is included.
  19. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Well, I think that part of the question (that wasn't asked) has been beaten to death. However, there seems to be a part of the OP's inquiry that got overlooked amongst all the saber rattling and look what I know, i.e. "When traveling, how do you know where to pull in and fill up".
    You can find the location of fueling stations and many other services in Cruising Guides, in many chart kits, several internet sites and right on many chartplotters. You don't cruise on a wing and a prayer as with a car knowing there's a gas station on every other corner with a big sign you can't miss. On the waterways you must keep reference resources handy as things like fuel docks, stores and even towns are most often not visible from the main waterways.
  20. Bamboo

    Bamboo Senior Member

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    Do you think the OP should be asking every fuel dock attendant he takes fuel at this? What percentage of masters (of the vessels in question in this thread) do you think do so? When was the last time you or KIWI have take a similar vessel (50-60 feet) up and down the east coast- and did you or the master ask for the spec sheet at every marina? I have yet to hear masters of these vessels asking for fuel spec sheet specifics ever. None- yep- zero- captains I know ask for fuel spec sheets when traveling up and down the east coast in the boats we are talking about. This is like the search engine overload- the info you and KIWI give may be interesting, but it has little to do with the subject and serves to confuse the OP and others lurking on this thread.