Mailport January 2018 Issue

Jerry Can Storage Tips

Jerry cans are a fact of life when cruising on small to mid-size cruisers. When fitting out our 37-foot cruiser for an extended trip from Lake Ontario to the Bahamas we supplemented our diesel tankage with four jerry cans for diesel and three gas cans to power the dinghy and run the water maker/generator.

stainless steel rail
Joe Rosenfeld boosted his tank capacity with the simple addition of a stainless steel rail between two stanchions.

Although U-bolting wood between stanchions for the purpose of securing jerry cans is a time proven method, in many cases itís kind of ugly, in my opinion.

stainless steel rail

stainless steel rail

In lieu of U-bolting boards to the life line stanchions to lash the jerry cans to, we built stainless steel securements using standard Bimini hardware. Hinged jaw clamps and tubing eye ends were used to attach horizontal stainless steel tubing between two stanchions, port and starboard. The hardware is available online for $12 to $15 dollars each or through a local canvas maker. Once the correct height above deck for the new horizontal tubes was established, I constructed and attached individual jerry can harnesses using 1-inch webbing and buckles. I learned the hard way that itís a good idea to make the can harnessís captive on the tubing to prevent loss overboard when utilizing the cans. Crisscrossing the horizontal can straps on the horizontal tubes prevents the cans from sliding fore or aft

The horizontal tubing also comes in handy as fender attachment points that keep the fender lines from rubbing on the teak toe rails. Iím going to experiment with a similar arrangement with two horizontal tubes aft by the cockpit combings for aft deck life raft lashing.

Six months into the cruise the jerry can mounts have proven to be functional and relatively unobtrusive. Most importantly weíve tested them to good account on several boisterous crossings complete with a few green water wash-downs.

Comments (10)

Bimini tubing between stanchions looks like an excellent idea, though I'd prefer to see it a bit higher than pictured, perhaps 2/3 of the height of the jerry cans, to better resist lateral forces. Medium density foam padding adhered to the bottom of each jug would prevent abrasion of the deck. Outboard roller furling rigging is essential.

Posted by: Yankee Jim | February 7, 2018 12:01 PM    Report this comment

This is a very neat tubing installation but I have doubts as to its strength to hold the jugs permanently in place. Probably strong enough for green water running down the side deck after punching the bow into a wave, but I doubt it would hold with green water from a wave hitting from the side. The added tube is quite long and would be subject to bending from a green water hit. In addition the end hardware used is designed for holding a dodger in place but nor for any significant lateral force. I can envision the effect of a hit from the side causing the tube to come out of the sockets at each end as the clamp fittings swivel from the side force. At that point the whole structure fails.

While ugly, I still think a piece of 2x8 southern yellow pine would be more effective if secured properly.

Others have called into question the strength of the stanchions. To lessen that fear I'd at least add another station to the middle of this system.

I have an acquaintance who also carries extra fuel in jerry jugs. His solution to the storage problem is to lash them in the sugar scoop transom which of course eliminates the very convenient means of getting into and out of the dink. It does solve the structural problems associated with lashing the jugs to the lifeline stanchions.

No storage solution, other than additional permanent built in fuel tankage will solve the fuel transfer problem. Pumping from the jug location to the built in tank is better than trying to pour fuel from the jug into the boat's tank which is just plain dangerous if in anything but calm seas.

It seems to me that we get ourselves into these situations by carrying the most dangerous thing to bring onto a boat - a schedule. Most of us need to "slow down and smell the roses".

Posted by: BillR | January 21, 2018 11:19 AM    Report this comment

In protected island waters, jerry cans are butt ugly, but not unreasonable. In any kind of wind, they are a lot of drag and sea drag when the rail is down. They are pretty dangerous in storm conditions. For 20 gallons of diesel, why not make room below for a small bladder. Properly installed, it also allows very safe and clean fuel transfer in more aggressive conditions.

Posted by: Jerry cans on deck in the islands is acceptable. For transit, they have terrible wind drag and are dangerous offshore in storm conditions. For 20 gallons of fuel, why not make room below for a small bladder? | January 21, 2018 10:09 AM    Report this comment

I love the fresh new look using SS tubing. I'm going to double up and use 2 tubes on each side with a larger backing plate at the base of the stanchion. Any Gelcoat issues on the deck? I'm using Jerry cans. Your thoughts.

Posted by: Cool down the pace | January 16, 2018 6:33 AM    Report this comment

The title of the article, Water Jug Storage Tips, is wrong. Clearly the red jerry cans were used to store gasoline and the yellow ones were used to store diesel fuel. And for safety reasons, that's the way it should be, no question about it.

Posted by: BluesII | January 15, 2018 6:56 PM    Report this comment

Not exactly on topic, but I use a siphon hose with a priming bulb to transfer diesel into the fuel deck fitting. Very clean and much more controlled than trying to pour. Be aware that some brands of the new CARB compliant jugs do not seal shut and will allow spray/rain to enter the jug.

Posted by: vulcan213 | January 15, 2018 9:19 AM    Report this comment

The headline for this article is a mess. "Jerry Can Storage Tips" would be a much more useful headline and far more reflective of the content.

Posted by: MartinCreek150 | January 15, 2018 7:39 AM    Report this comment

Is water being stored in red jerry cans? I thought red was for gasoline, yellow was for diesel and clear was for water?

Also, I would be concerned about a boarding wave hitting the cans hard enough to stress or break the stanchion base or hull to which the stanchion base is fixed.

Posted by: George DuBose | January 15, 2018 1:26 AM    Report this comment

Love the system for jerry cans. Curious if you have given any thought to sun protection - something like Sunbrella covers?

Posted by: RichC | January 14, 2018 9:40 PM    Report this comment

Have you had any issues with rubbing through the gelcoatnon the deck as the jugs slide a bit on passage?

Posted by: Jghflash | January 14, 2018 8:31 PM    Report this comment

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