It is hard to imagine that boats can carry extra fuel on board when needed by adding an extra removable tank. Making long runs outside of the standard cruising range requires additional fuel to extend the distance. Rather than adding in a stop, save time by remaining on course heading to the final destination. In Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina, boat owners fill bladders when transiting to marinas in other countries or far from the origin. Here is why and how boat owners use fuel bladders. 

What Is The Purpose Of A Fuel Bladder

The purpose of a bladder is to extend the cruising range. Vessels are fitted with tanks capable of holding a set amount of fuel. Based on the engine’s burn rate, operators calculate the maximum distance the vessel will travel before requiring refueling. 

The purpose of the fuel bladder is to increase the cruising range because extra fuel is stowed on board more than the standard capacity. More fuel equals longer run times from destination to destination. Bladders are portable when empty and are set in position on the deck of a vessel before filling at a marina fuel dock

Are Fuel Bladders Safe

Yes, bladders capable of holding fuel are safe. The tank is made from flexible rubber to prevent punctures and stout fuel inlet and outlet fittings. Bladders are designed for the elements as they are exposed to severe weather and continuous salt spray.  Lastly, never store a bladder below deck. 

Where Do You Put A Fuel Bladder On A Boat

When positioning a bladder intended to hold fuel to extend cruising range, consider carefully because the device is immovable once filled. 

Take into account the weight when filled. Depending on the size of the bladder, they hold between fifty and 1,000 gallons of fuel or gas. Considering bladders are stowed on the deck, ensure the structure can have excessive weights. 

Avoid blocking hatches or other necessary access points when positioning and filling the bladder. Lastly, keep the extra tank clear of walkways that will inhibit your daily operations and become a nuisance. 

How Much Does A Gallon Of Gas Weigh

The weight of gas is over six pounds per gallon, while diesel tops the scale at around seven pounds per gallon. Do the math when filling the tank. Calculate the weight of the fuel times the weight per gallon to realize the strain placed on the vessel’s deck. 

Based on the calculation, determine what size tank to purchase based on the required cruising distance and deck storage capacity. 

How Does A Fuel Bladder Work

Once the fuel bladder is onboard and in position, it is filled through the inlet designed to receive a pump nozzle. Once the bladder is full, a hose connects the bladders outlet to the onboard below deck fuel tank filling tube when the onboard tank runs low on fuel.

A valve on the outlet is turned to open. Once open, gently apply pressure with the foot to the bladder. The pressure causes the fuel to flow from the bladder to the onboard tank. Allow the bladder to drain completely. Close the valve and remove the hose. 

Where Do You Buy Fuel Bladders

Bladders are available for purchase online and at marine suppliers. The most notable manufacturer in the market is Aero Tech Laboratories. The company constructs marine-grade fuel bladders between twenty-five gallons and five hundred gallons. 

Take a look at the marine fuel bladder options on the Aero Tech Laboratories website to determine the correct product for your vessel. Remember to measure the space and compare it against the size of the bladder before completing the purchase. 

How Much Do Fuel Bladders Cost

The ranges vary based on the tank’s capacity when it comes to cost. Bladders with higher capacities are more expensive when compared to those with a lower capacity. The cost is directly associated with the amount of material required to construct the bladder. 

When purchasing a bladder, expect to pay between 650 dollars for a small tank and over 3,000 dollars for a high-capacity tank. The bladders are designed to last for extended periods when properly maintained despite the cost. Investing in a bladder will save you time, thus saving you money from frequently needing to stop for fuel on the journey from point A to point B. 

Do You Need A Fuel Bladder For Your Next Trip

Bladders are a time saver when traveling long distances across the water. The investment is worth the expense. Remember to position the bladder appropriately before filling as the extra tank, when filled, will become immovable. Ensure that the discharge port is connected correctly to the fill of the onboard fuel tank to avoid spills. Lastly, remember to rinse, dry, and stow flat after each use.