Railing racks for propane bottles

Nov 13, 2018
2
Erickson 37 Mayo
During a recent trip to Canada I noticed a number of sail boats with propane tanks stored in racks on aft railings. I am looking for pro/con comments, suggestions, etc. and sources of supplies.
 
May 20, 2016
2,992
Catalina 36 MK1 94 Everett, WA
Pro-
older boats don’t have the dedicated propane locker.
New lockers to ABYC and fire codes are expensive (6-7x cost of the rail mount).
Propane lockers take valuable space in lazerette
Propane lockers require yet another thruhull

On rail leaves wires and solenoid out in the weather

Some PO of my boat mounted a fender holder on the stern and racked 2 6-lb cylinders there. Ugly. I just pulled it off last week and am making a Aluminum rack with starboard cover so it looks better.

Les
 

Sailm8

.
Feb 21, 2008
1,713
Hunter 29.5 Punta Gorda
If you are talking about the one pound bottles, I have seen PVC pipe used to make a holder for three or four bottles.
 
Feb 26, 2004
21,950
Catalina 34 224 Maple Bay, BC, Canada
Hello Below also just used PVC pipe for his small green bottles, placed it underneath his perch seats. Very nifty design.
 
May 7, 2012
969
Hunter e33 Maple Bay, BC
Hello Below also just used PVC pipe for his small green bottles, placed it underneath his perch seats. Very nifty design.
Correct or not, I always envision a "propane bottle" as being the one pounders, whereas a "propane tank" is 5 pounds plus. A cylinder I suppose can be both. So what size pressure vessel are you asking about? One pound, 5 pound, 10 pound, 20 pound . . . ???
Yes I followed the guidance of this website:
http://cghost.org/storing-small-propane-bottles/
and the result was 2 one pound propane bottles under each seat.
Small Bottle Propane Storage.jpg
 
Last edited:
Nov 13, 2018
2
Erickson 37 Mayo
To all, thanks for the excellent responses.… When I initiated the question I was thinking of 5# tanks -- I had not considered 1# bottles -- but, with the responses, will have to look at this option. Anything on 1# and 5# propane containers would be helpful and appreciated.
 
Oct 22, 2014
16,084
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
Rich. Nice project. What did you use for the clamps to the rails? Pre-made or self manufactured? How are they attached to the PVC Pipe?
 
Aug 22, 2017
1,608
Hunter 26.5 West Palm Beach
A nice accessory for the 1# bottles is a brass cap with gasket. They can be found for reasonable money on flea bay & amazon, as well as in many RV supply places. These are a couple of sources that I just googled up - https://www.ebay.com/i/253825858016?chn=ps

https://www.amazon.com/Gimiton-Refi...ocphy=9012004&hvtargid=pla-439524259642&psc=1

The refillable bottles can also be found on flea bay or Amazon, as well as in some big box stores. You can buy just the bottle, or the full kit. Harbor freight has just the refill fitting if you want to go that route.
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Flame-King-1-lb-Refillable-Propane-Cylinder-YSN164/305539511?cm_mmc=Shopping|G|Base|D28I|28-22_BBQ+GRILL|NA|PLA|General|Fixed|71700000041074675|58700004389677021|92700036927063678&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIvbvGx87S3gIVDY3ICh37jgBvEAQYASABEgKTi_D_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

https://www.samsclub.com/sams/1lb-r...MIvbvGx87S3gIVDY3ICh37jgBvEAQYBCABEgK69vD_BwE

https://www.amazon.com/DozyAnt-Univ...coding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=9ZCJ6NYDS2138KSXENNS

It is illegal to refill the little green disposable 1# bottles & then transport them, but some people do it. The officially refillable 1# bottles are built better & intended to be used many times. They also have a screw bleeder valve that makes filling them much faster.
 
Last edited:
Feb 10, 2004
3,508
Hunter 40.5 Warwick, RI
To answer jssailem:

The 4" PVC tube was a pre-cut 3'(?) piece that I bought at Home Depot. HD has a variety of PVC pipe sizes in short sections. Added to that are two end caps. The bottom end cap is glued on the tube and has a 1/4" hole drilled in the center for a drain in the event of a propane leak. Choose a boat mounting location so that any leak would pass overboard and not into the cockpit. The top cap also has a 3/16" or 1/4" hole that mounts a stainless steel eye bolt to secure the top with an 1/8" line to prevent loss overboard. The clamps were purchased at West Marine in a package of two.
Link: https://www.westmarine.com/buy/west-marine--plastic-rail-clamps--5142070?recordNum=28
The only thing I don't like about the clamps is that the clamping screw is not captive. So you need to be aware and very careful that you don't offer it to Neptune when you mount or dis-mount the assembly.
The hardest part of the construction was mounting the clamps to the PVC tube. The clamps mount with some #10 machine screws from the inside of the tube to captive nuts in the clamps. You need to attach the clamps to the rail in the location that you choose and then mark the position of the clamps on the outside of the tube. Then locate the two mounting holes for each clamp and drill the tube. Since the propane cylinders are a close fit to the inside of the tube, you need to use flat head machine screws and counter-sink the inside so that the screw heads are flush and don't protrude into the tube. I used a hand counter sink tool that I could get into the tube to accomplish this task. Then simply attach the clamps and mount on the rail. The tube nicely holds three of the 16.4 ounce propane tanks. If you have a "fat" arm, reaching into the tube to get the one on the bottom can be difficult. If you use the Flame King refillable tanks, they have a nice plastic combination cap and handle that is much easier to grab than just the top threaded fitting on a standard bottle. And the plastic handles minimize the chance of dropping the tank in the water too!
All told, the construction project took about an hour. But you do need access to your boat to mark the tube and determine the best mounting location.
 
Nov 8, 2010
11,385
Beneteau First 36.7 & 260 Minneapolis MN & Bayfield WI
I store small ones in my anchor locker. Wrap them in a old towel and tie them to a corner. Save, secure, and drains overboard.
 
  • Like
Likes: LloydB
Aug 22, 2017
1,608
Hunter 26.5 West Palm Beach
...
The only thing I don't like about the clamps is that the clamping screw is not captive. So you need to be aware and very careful that you don't offer it to Neptune when you mount or dis-mount the assembly....
I would think that any machine shop with a lathe could easily make undercuts in the threads of the screws that would allow you to add some stainless steel E-clips or maybe some O-rings to make the screws captive.
 
Last edited:
Feb 10, 2004
3,508
Hunter 40.5 Warwick, RI
I would think that any machine shop with a lathe could easily make undercuts in the threads of the screws that would allow you to add some stainless steel E-clips or maybe some O-rings to make the screws captive.
I have a lathe. But the task is really far down on my list. Until I drop a screw overboard, that is.
 
  • Like
Likes: JimInPB
Jun 14, 2010
1,725
TBD Looking for my next boat CT
My design: Holds three 1# bottles. Cost about $30. It even holds the Flame King refillable 1# bottles- slightly taller but fit perfectly. BTW, these refillable bottles are really slick.
View attachment 158427 View attachment 158428 View attachment 158429
Nice. I did similar but added an aluminum flat bar, cut to size and folded 90-degrees (with ends bent in toward the middle, about 1”) and the cans are inserted with the bends above and below the cans. To remove cans lift the bar and the bottom can is lifted so they all slide up.
 
Feb 10, 2004
3,508
Hunter 40.5 Warwick, RI
Nice. I did similar but added an aluminum flat bar, cut to size and folded 90-degrees (with ends bent in toward the middle, about 1”) and the cans are inserted with the bends above and below the cans. To remove cans lift the bar and the bottom can is lifted so they all slide up.
I considered that option, but the clearance between the bottles and the PVC tube is only about 1/8" (1/16" around) and I couldn't find a thin metal that was strong enough to work. What did you use and when did you source it?
 
Oct 31, 2012
437
Hunter 2008 H25 Lake Wabamun
I built this one out of SS. The video shows a bit more of the construction
Screen Shot 2018-11-17 at 8.21.40 PM.png