Boat Fuel Tank Cleaning

Boat fuel tank cleaning should be a part of your regular maintenance routine, particularly if your vesssel has sat for an extended time during the off-season. You need to as good a care of your boat fuel tank as you do your boat hull. A sludgy fuel tank can cause engine problems that even the best fuel filter won’t.

Understand Boat Fuel Tank Cleaning

boat-fuel-tank-cleaningWhen it comes to boat fuel tank cleaning, you need to understand what happens to boat fuel in a sealed tank. When fuel is sealed inside a tank, it will begin to breakdown chemically, separating into the additives and fuel components. The additives will sink, concentrating at the bottom of the tank as a thick sludge. Condensation will also form in the tank as the additives break apart, creating moisture, which adds to the sludge. This is what you need to clean when you are flushing out your boat’s fuel tank.

You will find multiple suggestions for cleaning your boat fuel tank online. Understand that cleaning out your fuel tank includes cleaning out flammable material. If you have questions or concerns, you should contact a professional. Cleaning your fuel tank should always be performed with safety as the primary objective. Clean it in an area that is well ventilated and avoid sparks while handling materials.

One standard method for cleaning your boat fuel tank begins with draining the tank of old fuel, sludge and debris. You will need some clear vinyl tubing, an air compressor, a nozzle and a container for the bad fuel to go into.

Drain the Tank

Remove the fuel cap and plug any vent piping. Be sure you disconnect your fuel line prior to where it enters the water filter. Add the vinyl tubing so that it goes into the container you want to drain the tank into prior to putting the air compressor and nozzle to the fuel filler port.

Turn on the air compressor and slowly increase the pressure to force the fuel out of the tank. If air is escaping from somewhere around the tank, use wet clothes to seal it. Continue draining the tank with air pressure until all of it is out.


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