Fuel Contamination and Owning a Trawler Boat – What You Should Know

trawler fuel contaminationAfter reading an article single vs twin a couple decades ago it predicted that 90% of all engine breakdowns are due to fuel contamination. Wow, that got my attention, Owning Trawler School Charters equipped with a single engine was going to be a problem, so I thought. If ever read an article that got to me it was that one, all I thought about was breaking down all the time because of the 90% fuel contamination rule.
 I needed to make myself bulletproof against this rule, first I had my fuel tanks pumped out it cost me $400.00, there was 100 gallons of fuel and 10 gallons was pure sledge, the other 90 gallons was put back into my tanks, that is called fuel polishing. These tanks are over 35 years old and never been cleaned. I was not happy so I pulled the six fuel injectors and had to rebuild them @ $600.00, now was I happy? No. The fuel pump, lets rebuild that @$800.00 I was still not happy,so how about fuel filters!  They come in different filter sizes 500, 900 and 1,000. These are racor filters separated from the engines,1,000 being the largest they would be harder to clog up, they also come in  #30, #10 & #2 microns (The  flow of fuel),  #30 will allow large amounts of fuel to flow through and that will allow debris to also flow through. Most boaters use #10 microns this allows good protection, in my case, I want the best protection so I use #2 which will really filter most debris but you can not use these on high fuel; guselling engines, it will suffocate them. I have 165hp engine that just putts along so this filter works for me. I do replace them every month just to make sure I have fresh ones all the time. It is the best $32.00 insurance policy one can invest in. You do have one more filter and that located is right on the engine, this is the last line of protection, here is how it works A #30 recon filter will have #10 micron on the engine & #10 recon will have a #2 micron on the engine. My #2 racor filter allows me to use a # 2 on the engine, this means I only have to replace the engine filter once a year. Now I’m a happy camper. Yes sir. Never had a breakdown in 8 years due to fuel contamination.
Ok lets get real, I went way overboard if I was to due this all over again this is what I would do. Just get the fuel tanks pumped and change your filters, use fuel additives or even a polishing system if you believe in them (I personally do not use one) that is it! This is my advice I give my clients during engine class, it is not by the book but first hand experience after 8 years and well over 300 trawler school charters I never had to bleed the engine.
In closing I would like to return back to the article written a couple decades back. First I’d like to address that 90% of breakdowns are caused by fuel contamination, that was the old days. Regulations were not enforced in the old days now you have strict  EPA enforcement rules on fuel tanks, newer tank materials, additives, updated tanks not the old rusty ones so on and so on… I would in my opinion believe fuel contamination to be under 30%. If you have a fuel truck or fuel barge to fill you up then you will be receiving much fresher fuel. Written by Captain Bob owner, operator of Trawler school charters, for more trawlers article’s check  out our web site wwwtrawlerschoolcharters.com hope you enjoyed this article. Sea U
Trawler School Charters
Captain Robert L. Hamilton
USCG Licenced
Vessel Miami Mermaid
398 East Dania Beach Blvd #281
Dania Beach FL 33004