Sneaking Fuel

Published in the May 2012 Issue May 2012 Feature

The forums at are a great place to compare notes from houseboaters around the country. Is something a little weird at your home lake? Are you wondering if the improvements to your dock from last summer are part of a trend? Head on over to the forums to see what's going on, from Lake Tahoe to Lake Norman. New member GoVols had a situation just like this the other day. Let's see what kind of response he got.

GoVolsGoVols asked: I've talked to several people on my dock and they've said they "sneak in" their fuel from outside the marina. Our marina has rules against this, but they're largely overlooked. I asked the Tennessee Wildlife Refuge Association about these rules and they stated there are no state laws against this. However, the marina can enforce if they choose to do so. What's your marina's stance on this issue?

boatloverboatlover responded: My marina/club does not sell gas. We have a separate dock for fueling. Any member can use it. With my old boat I had a 275-gallon tank on a trailer with a pump and 80 feet of hose to refuel. The worst part was sitting at the gas station for 30-40 minutes, filling the tank. I could pump it out faster than in. Now I call and have off road diesel delivered.

DanDan shared: We are not allowed to bring fuel in. My fill-ups are always well over 100 gallons, so I'd have no interest in carrying it down the dock. Our marina believes they have a source for non-ethanol gas... keeping my fingers crossed!

EastTNBoaterEastTNBoater had an experience close to home: No outside gas brought on the dock. No fueling except at the fuel docks. Posted all over the place on the dock. Many people at my dock bring gas onto the dock when no one is around. Most of the houseboaters on my dock wonder why the owner "likes" me more than them. I do not think that he likes me, but I do think he likes my money. I pay all of my bills on time-both of my slips and electric. I also buy my gas from him, all of it, unless I am out in my little boat or jet ski and need some. My gas bill is maybe $1,000 a year. When I gas up, I also pump out and he throws that in for free. I also buy stuff from his store-marina t-shirts and miscellaneous other stuff. I guess my point is, treat your marina owner well and he will treat you well.
I am surprised that you actually found a TWRA member to ask the question-they are scarce up here in East Tennessee.

jtalbertsjtalberts had some input: My dock's over fueling and at a relatively reasonable price. Usually just 10-20 cents over how much it costs at the gas station. The hard part is getting to the station to get the larger boats filled up. I would bring gas down for my generator on the old boat when it was a separate system.

To read more, visit the forums at and search for the "Gassing up houseboat & toys" thread.

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