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On Gasoline Powered Boats, When Should the Blower Be Operated?

Written by J. Harvey / Fact checked by S. Numbers

on gasoline powered boats, when should the blower be operated

Many devices are required to keep the boat safe. Thus, we need to know what they are and how to use them properly. One of these devices is the blower. But what is the bilge blower on gasoline powered boats, when should the blower be operated?

We’ll take a closer look at the bilge blower in this article, including when we should be using it and a ventilation blower should be operated for how long after fueling.

Keep reading to learn more.


The Bilge Blower

For boats that use an inboard engine, the risk of gasoline fume buildup is an important consideration. Gasoline fumes that leak out of the engine accumulate in the bilge, which is the lowest part of the boat. The bilge blower serves to remove this buildup.

Aside from the strong smell of gasoline fumes which is harmful, there also exists the risk of the fumes igniting, which may cause a fire or something even worse. Blowers are specially designed with the risk of such fumes in mind. These blowers operate while also eliminating the possibility of igniting any fumes that may have built up. Using just any fan is not an option.

A bilge blower is an integral part of the inboard gasoline boats ventilation system. It is among the requirements for ventilation systems as prescribed by the US Coast Guard for specific vessels that use inboard engines.

When to Operate the Blower


There are many situations when a ventilation blower should be operated. However, it should always be used before turning on the boat engine to clear out dangerous fumes. The blower should be turned on at a minimum of 4 minutes to allow the blower enough time to clear out the buildup of fumes.

However, as blowers are not usually designed for long periods of use, it is best to designate specific situations for using them. Below are some situations where it is best to operate the blower.

1. After refueling

It is recommended to always use the blower before turning on the engine after refueling to clear out any gasoline fumes that may linger. We have to clean any spills since the spilled fuel will continue to emit fumes and render the blower useless.

It is essential to keep in mind that the blower should be turned on only after refueling, as operating the blower. At the same time, refueling may cause fumes to build up even more.

While 4 minutes is the recommended minimum operation time, this may not be enough to clear out the fumes completely. It’s a good idea to check for the smell of gasoline and extend the blower operation time as needed.

2. Before starting an idled boat

A boat that has not been used for a while may have gasoline fumes accumulated in the bilge, and there may be more fumes the longer the boat was left unused. It’s a good idea to clear the air out properly before starting the boat.

Of course, inspecting an unused boat thoroughly before starting it up is a good idea. Check to see that everything is well on the boat first and that no fuel has spilled out. Use the blower as dictated by the situation.

3. Running the engine at low output.

Another good time to use the blower is operating the engine at a low output for extended periods. This is due to the decreased air intake leading to more unburned fuel mixed with the engine exhaust. Fumes may accumulate more quickly in these situations.

It may seem like a good idea just to keep the blower operating during such times. However, blowers are usually not designed for continuous use. However, there are blowers intended for heavy use. And it’s a good idea to consider them if you expect to use low output engine operation.


Now you have a better understanding of the bilge blower on gasoline powered boats, when should the blower be operated?. While it may seem like a lot of trouble, the risks that come with gasoline fume buildup can be life-threatening. It’s a good idea to protect ourselves by knowing how to use our tools effectively.

If you know anyone else wondering about bilge blowers, don’t hesitate to share this article with them as well. Please leave your thoughts and comments below.

Remember to boat safely.

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