I need to buy a propane bottle for my new (to me) 1979 Endeavour 32. The propane provides for both my galley stove and my hot water heater. I never had propane on my previous boats. Is there a "marine" propane bottle? Or are all propane bottles alike? I know propane is used on campers, RVs, etc., but I have no idea what I need for my "new" boat. I did take very detailed measures of the propane locker, so I feel confident I'll buy the right size. I just have no idea about what my choices are, etc.
Sail Fast, Live Slow
Quite a few choices.
Most expensive are the new fibreglass ones, followed by aluminum. Both these good if you have ondeck stowage. Personally we use the basic American 20lb cylinder that live in our gas locker. When new we painted them with 2-part epoxy to protect against corrosion. At $32 each(in Panama) they don't have to last as long as the aluminum ones costing over $200 each!
While there is no official “marine” LPG tank, aluminum tanks are the standard for the obvious reasons they do not rust and are lighter. I have admitted defeat in trying to keep paint on aluminum, so now I spray wax the tanks to minimize corrosion. The only advantages to steel are the lower initial cost, and when in a foreign country that requires you exchange tanks rather than fill your own, you receive like value.
Alloy tanks come in so many shapes and sizes now that I'm sure you can optimize your locker space, but remember that there are valves specific to horizontal and vertical installations. We consume approximately 10 pounds of high-quality LPG (and it does vary) every six weeks, but I suspect we are more frugal than most.
Remember that the tank itself is always the strongest link in the chain. Please check carefully that all your hoses are in top condition, are fair led through deck fittings and bulkheads to prevent chafe, are professionally swedged and attached at both ends, and that the burner valves are of high quality and well maintained.
The question of using a solenoid versus manual turn off at the tank depends on the specific layout of your boat, but both systems require the discipline of ALWAYS turning the gas off at the tank, not just at the burners.
Safe sailing, and if you see us in an anchorage send over some hot muffins fresh from the oven.
Fibreglass tanks are half the price of aluminium, but I believe they are heavier. The standard 20 lb fibreglass tank is 14 lbs, not that much less than steel. What does the empty aluminium one weigh?
Sand blast and paint your steel tank with one of the cold galvanizing primers out of a spray can, available at many hardware and automotive stores.. They leave about 80% to 95% zinc , dry weight. You can give her another coat every so often. Greatly reduces rust problems. Most propane tanks come with a useless single coat of paint.