National Fisherman

Boats & Gear 

Michael CrowleyThe Boats & Gear blog is overseen by our Boats & Gear editor, Michael Crowley. It explores new construction projects, electronics, gear and equipment for the commercial fishing industry.

On March 1, 2011, the Coast Guard put out an announcement: “Beware of E15 fuels in boats.”

If you’re like a lot of fishermen who use outboards you should pay attention to this, because you probably get your fuel at the local service station when you gas up the pickup. In most cases that means you have been using a mixture of 90 percent gasoline and 10 percent ethanol, or E10 as that mixture is called.

The benefit of combining ethanol — made from things like sugar cane and corn — with gasoline is that the combined product produces a better burn and thus reduces air emissions.

The E10 combination probably hasn’t been a problem if you have a fairly new outboard, as the more recent models have been tested to run successfully with E10.

But they have not been tested to run on a mixture with 15 percent ethanol, and as of Jan. 21, 2011, the Environmental Protection Agency said the use of ethanol in gasoline could be jacked up to 15 percent. It will probably be a couple of years before outboards are tested for E15.

The problem is that ethanol is a solvent, and increasing the mixture by 50 percent could adversely affect an engine’s fuel lines, fuel tanks, pumps, injectors, carburetors, valves, O-rings, and gaskets.

Even assuming E15 doesn’t damage those engine components, if it remains too long in the fuel tank or even the carburetor, you can have the same problem you would have had with E10 — phase separation. That’s when ethanol, which absorbs water and holds it in suspension, takes on too much moisture. Then the ethanol-water mixture drops out of the fuel. It settles on the bottom of the tank and is sucked into the engine.

If the separation takes place in the carburetor, the bowl can corrode. On a 4-stroke the mixture could gum up and corrode the small passages in the carburetor to the extent that the carburetor can’t be repaired.

There is a way to avoid ruining a perfectly good outboard: Buy your outboard fuel at the marina, not the local service station. The EPA waiver allows the use of E15 only with newer cars and lightweight trucks and is not permitted to be used in boats, which is why the Coast Guard recommends you only use gasoline purchased at marinas.

National Fisherman Live

National Fisherman Live: 7/17/14

In this episode, National Fisherman's Boats & Gear Editor Michael Crowley talks with Mike Hillers about the Simrad PX Multisensor.

 

National Fisherman Live: 7/8/14

In this episode:

  • Obama proposes initiative on tracking fish
  • Council retains haddock bycatch limit
  • Columbia River salmon plan challenged
  • Virginia approves reduction in blue crab harvest
  • Ala. shrimpers hope to net some jumbo profits

 

Inside the Industry

PORTLAND, Maine – The Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative has appointed Matt Jacobson as its new executive director.
 
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The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council will convene its Red Snapper Advisory Panel Wednesday, July 30, 2014, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the council office — 2203 N. Lois Avenue, Suite 1100, in Tampa, Fla. 

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