12-volt flow control valve

Avoiding Fuel Theft - Boat Articles, Guides, Commentary and archival articles & helpful sailing - information

Storage Problems


Dan-Marc valves

Always follow proper safety precautions when working with fuel, and if you have any doubts, consult a professional for installation of any such theft-deterrent system.

Avoiding Fuel Theft

Living in Michigan or other areas, one of the annual necessities of any boat owner is that you must store your boat for extended periods. You can store your boat at an offsite storage facility due to neighborhood restrictions. Usually, offsite also means out of control. Last year, while in storage, someone siphoned out the entire contents of my fuel tank, about 45 gallons.

"I thought I had taken the necessary precautions to prevent any theft, but boy, was I mistaken. One thing I overlooked was that a thief could cut the fuel line running to the engine and use the primer bulb to siphon out all of the fuel. The thieves responsible for this were back a total of three times before I could get a solution implemented."

You can solve your problem by installing a valve in the main line before the engines and under the deck. This can be done a couple of different ways; either with a manual valve (simple and cheap) or an electric fuel shut-off (about $75), which you chose to use.

The manual valve solution could have been installed inline, however, if you find this system is inconvenient for your installation, maybe opted for a 12-volt flow control valve.

The valve is controlled by the flip of a switch, inconspicuously placed out of sight near the console. For my installation, the system is further protected by the main battery switch (located in a locked compartment), which is shut off while in storage. The valve is a normally closed design that only draws current in the open position, typically when the engine is running and the draw is minimal at 1 amp in the open position.

Dan-Marc 3/8-inch valves

anchor Problems with Corals

Chose the 12-volt Dan-Marc valve (on photo), which has a 3/8-inch inlet and outlet. It is manufactured by Advanced Fuel Components, Inc. in Marshall, Michigan, (afcvalves.com) and can be purchased from the Dan-Marc Co. (dan-marc.com) as part No. 79-AFC161 for $109.99. If you choose to opt for the manual valve, they are commonly available at marine supply stores.

With fuel costs being what they are, a loss like this is hard to take. Outsmarting the thieves is a fulltime job and prevention is the key.