Diesel Boats | Yacht Diesel

Diesel Boats

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Diesel boats are often believed to be safer than gas operated marine engines.  To some extent there is truth in that belief, but there are also other advantages that diesel boats have over their gasoline counterparts.  It should also be mentioned, though, that diesel engines are not the best option for every boat.

The increased safety of diesel boats is primarily because of the higher flash point of diesel fuel compared to marine gasoline (125º F versus -45º F).  Although that isn’t to say that anyone with a gas engine is just a ticking time bomb.  On average, gasoline engines are just as safe to operate as diesel engines – you just need to be mindful of the flammable nature of gasoline.

There is also a carbon monoxide hazard with a gas engine that you don’t have with the engine on diesel boats.  The CO poisoning is actually caused more often by gas generators than gas engines.  If you do a lot of overnight anchoring, or if you run your generator for AC or heat while spending the day on the boat, then a diesel generator is a wise choice.

One of the best advantages that diesel engines have over gas engines is their ability to use bio-fuels to help increase their fuel efficiency and engine performance, while at the same time reducing emissions.   Diesel boats have a clear eco-friendly advantage when it comes down to it.  Gas boats have been struggling for several years with engine problems resulting from ethanol additives in gas fuel.  Gas engines, simply put, emit a lot of CO2, making their boat carbon footprint much worse than that of diesel boats.

One issue that does arise with diesel boats is that they really are the only choice for boats 36’ feet or longer.  Gasoline engines heat-up too much when overworked, as they would be pulling a 40’ yacht.  The result of increased weight and water resistance means that a gas engine would be working much too hard for what it’s really capable of.

Diesel engines can carry more weight with less stress due to higher torque.  Something to keep in mind is that with a lighter load, that advantage no longer exists.  Also, when you have a lightweight diesel engine on a smaller boat, those diesel engines tend to not last as long as slow speed diesel engines do.

Diesel boats definitely have some great plusses to them compared to gas boats, but ultimately it’s important to choose the best type of engine for your boat.

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