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.

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


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 its a good idea to make the can harnesss 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. I’m 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 we’ve tested them to good account on several boisterous crossings complete with a few green water wash-downs.

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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