Pint-Sized Propane Locker


Explosive and heavier than air, propane is not the sort of thing you want beneath your bunk. The grills we tested this month (See “The Great Grill-a-thon”) can be fitted with adapters to take 10-pound propane tanks meant for galley service, but smaller 16-ounce canisters used for camping are convenient for short cruises. So where do you store these rust-prone bombs?

A safe propane locker should be latched and sealed except for a direct overboard drain, with no loops in the drain hose, which should not be joined with any other hose on the boat. Effectively, there should be no way for gas to spill into the boat.

Though open at the bottom, the $59 propane holder from Sailor’s Solutions can keep two 16-ounce canisters outboard on a stern pulpit where any chance of propane creeping below is minimal. Made of milled StarBoard, heavy-walled PVC tubing, two stainless-steel hose clamps, and some stainless steel fasteners, the holder is far from elegant, and the tight-fitting cap requires a bit of elbow grease to pry off, but it’s a simple solution for short-term propane storage.

Contact – Sailor’s Solutions, 631/754-1945,

Darrell Nicholson, editor of Practical Sailor, grew up boating on Miami’s Biscayne Bay on everything from prams to Morgan ketches. Two years out of Emory University, after a brief stint as a sportswriter, he set out from Miami aboard a 60-year-old wooden William Atkin ketch named Tosca. For 10 years, he and writer-photographer Theresa Gibbons explored the Caribbean, crossed the Pacific, and cruised Southeast Asia aboard Tosca, working along the way as journalists and documenting their adventures for various travel and sailing publications, including Cruising World, Sail, Sailing, Cruising Helmsman, and Sailing World. Upon his return to land life, Darrell became the associate editor, then senior editor at Cruising World magazine, where he worked for five years. Before taking on the editor’s position at Practical Sailor, Darrell was the editor of Offshore magazine, a boating-lifestyle magazine serving the New England area. Darrell has won multiple awards from Boating Writer’s International, including the Monk Farnham award for editorial excellence. He holds a U.S. Coast Guard 100-ton Master license and has worked as a harbor pilot and skippered a variety of commercial charter boats.


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