This article is an excerpt from NauticEd’s Bareboat Charter Course, a comprehensive online course that equips you with all the necessary skills and knowledge to successfully charter a yacht. The Bareboat Charter course is part of the Bareboat Charter Master bundle of online courses, fully preparing you for near-coastal sailing and sailing charters.

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Galley Stove on a Charter Boat


The vast majority of vessels in charter fleets are equipped with propane-burning galley stoves.  Propane is heavier than air and leaked fuel stays low in the boat. 

Trivia Break – You may have heard this one. In olden times manure was transported on ships. The gases generated from the manure were heavier than air and collected in the bottom of ships. Someone smoking in the bowels of the boat could literally ignite the gas and explode the boat. Thus the crates of bags were labeled with Store High In Transit or S.H.I.T. Well literally that is SHIT. shows that the origins of the word comes from German and has roots as far back as the 14th century. So it’s not true. If anyone tries to get that across you tell them what they are talking is ….

Propane is colorless, odorless (although additives make it smell like rotten eggs), burns hot and cleanly, and is a good source of heat.  The boat should have a propane detector (sniffer) near the floor that sounds an alarm when leaked gas is detected.  The propane cylinder must be isolated in a dedicated external locker.

The propane tank must have a regulator, electrical solenoid shut-off, and manual cylinder shut-off.  Its hose exits the propane locker through an air-tight gland and proceeds to the galley, where another manual in-line shut-off should be located.  A flexible hose connects the line to the galley stove.

To operate the stove, first open the propane tank valve and turn the electrical solenoid switch – usually near the circuit breaker panel – on.  Then open the manual valve, depress and turn the stove valve, and light the burner.  After a few seconds, release the knob and adjust it to the desired flame. Some boats will require matches and on some boats, the electric igniter just doesn’t work  – thus take matches (store them in a Ziploc bag). Someone always leaves open a hatch at night and the matches are usually stored under the hatch. Of course, Murphy’s Law says the night the hatch is left open is the night it rains is the night your matches get wet.

To turn the flame off, first shut off the manual valve at the tank to burn off all the fuel in the line, and then once the flame goes out from lack of fuel, turn the burner knob to the off position and shut the electrical solenoid. 

There are significant dangers to propane, that you should be aware of on your charter trip. Propane is heavier than air and will collect in concentration in the bilge if unburned propane is allowed to escape from the stove. A simple ignition source like the automatic turning on of the bilge pump could cause enough spark to create an explosion. Treat the propane system with care. Open hatches when cooking and ensure you light the stove/oven as soon as you turn the knobs.


Fire is a big hazard on board a boat and the propane stove is a major course. Ensure you and your crew know where the fire blanket and extinguishers are and that the blanket and extinguishers are readily available and inspected.

You can learn more in the Bareboat Charter Online Course....

The Bareboat Charter online sailing course is your go-to resource for planning an unforgettable sailing vacation. This comprehensive online course equips you with all the necessary skills and knowledge to successfully charter a yacht. Upgrade to the Bareboat Charter Master bundle of courses to fully prepare for near-coastal sailing and sailing charters.

Source: Bareboat Charter
Topic: Bareboat Chartering
Authors: Ed Mapes, USCG Captain Master Mariner. Grant Headifen, NauticEd Global Director of Education
NauticEd is a fully recognized education and certification platform for sailing students combining online and on-the-water real instruction (and now VR). NauticEd offers +24 online courses, a free sailor's toolkit that includes 2 free courses, and six ranks of certification – all integrated into NauticEd’s proprietary platform. The USCG and NASBLA recognize NauticEd as having met the established American National Standards.