Friday, June 17, 2011

Fuel transfer system and plumbing

These pictures show the completed fuel transfer system. At first glance it looks quite complicated but that is mostly due to the fact that, in order to keep all our tankage below decks (lots more interior room that way) we ended up with six storage tanks and one day tank on the aft bulkhead of the engine room. This makes for a lot of plumbing. Once everything is labeled it should be fairly easy to follow. The six main tanks hold about 1600 gallons of fuel and the day tank holds 50. I won't bore you with all the details of how everything is plumbed, but it gives you the ability to pump from any tank to any other tank (via a big Racor filter) and also fill the day tank from any tank. This can all be done with an electric transfer pump or a hand crank pump (manual backup is a good thing). Included is also a distribution manifold that will fill any tank from the single fuel fill aft of the wheelhouse.


  1. Nice looking Peter. I just started fitting pipe in my engine room. I have a similar set up in my mind as to what you have already built except for the hand pump... great idea. Who's hand pump is that?


  2. Thanks. It is perhaps a bit complicated, but as long as I remember how it all works... I was up at Dakota Creek Industries in Anacortes, WA recently and they are building some big integrated tug/barge units for Crowley and some very high tech offshore oil rig support vessels for Candies that make my little project look like a rowboat. I guess it's all relative. Anyway, the manual pump that I'm using is made by OTS and it's a model 5540-95. Pumps about 8GPM at a little over one crank per second (about as fast as you can crank for any length of time). We've used them around the shop and they seem pretty bullet proof.


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  4. Peter,

    Sue posted a comment on our blog ( with a link to this site. All I can say is "Wow!" The design detail you are applying to boat systems and their execution is impressive.

    I love this fuel transfer system. The systems installed by Seahorse Marine on their Ducks use the very reliable Walbro diaphram pump (although we carry a spare) but only pump at about 40 gph. We have no fuel meter so I record our fuel transfers in the log book as time values (e.g., "60 minutes from port tank to ops tank").

    Best of luck and hope to see you cruising soon.

    Kurt & Marcia
    MV Alpenglow (currently in Wrangell, AK)