Fueling systems at marinas are more than just petrol stations on the water. While there are certainly some similarities between the two, there are plenty of differences as well, and it’s important to know the ins and outs of marine fueling systems before you decide you want to build one on your waterfront commercial property.

If you will be serving small, private recreational watercraft, there are things you should certainly know about basic rules and regulations, codes, and standards for marine fueling systems. Here we offer a guide to help you navigate your project.


Today’s marinas often offer more than just a place to gas up. Many are like the convenience stores we so often visit on land. They provide not only fuel but also food and drink and other items boaters might need while they’re on the water. That makes the safety of the fueling system even more important, simply because the location of which it stands can become a busy, crowded place.

There are tons of fire and safety environmental regulations that apply to both regular service stations and marine fueling stations, but there are plenty of rules that are particularly to marine fueling because the bodies of water they sit near are sometimes used for drinking water as well as recreation. There are also concerns about wetlands and wildlife, either of which could be harmed due to spillage.

Commercial property owners who run a fueling system or are considering installing a marine fueling system also need to be up to date on fire regulations. Whenever gasoline is involved, fires can spread quickly, so steps must be taken to avoid such a catastrophe. Not only can property damage occur, but there’s also a potential of loss of life.

Fire codes will also address things such as above-ground piping, moving docks, tank and dispenser elevations, static electricity discharge, and much more. Of course, worker health and safety is paramount as well.

Tank requirements

In most cases, marine fueling facility tanks must be the above ground type. This allows for protection of the water table and also takes into consideration the soil conditions and rocky terrain often present where these systems are built.

The kind of above ground fuel tanks used will also determine where it can be built. For example, fire-resistant tanks can be situated closer to public use areas while uninsulated tanks will need to be set back and separated from public areas. Double-wall tanks may have even fewer restrictions. See municipal codes for particulars.

In addition, every tank should have an adequately sized emergency vent to release excessive internal pressure in the event of fire exposure. Without this vent, internal pressure can cause a tank to explode, which – obviously – can cause horrendous destruction and injury or death.

Preventing damage

The owner must also place system components so that they are in a location that offers low risk of damage, either accidental or on purpose. Tanks should be away from high-traffic areas or protected by barriers while dispensers, hoses, nozzles, and other components need to be further protected from damage due to collision with motor vehicles or watercraft. Furthermore, boaters should be forbidden to do things such as tie up to the fuel line, which is a recipe for disaster.


These are just a handful of the parameters that must be followed when building a marine fueling facility on a commercial property. There are many more rules and regulations that most be abided, which is why it is essential to hire a company that’s well versed in the laws of your municipality as they relate to marine fueling systems.

Western Oil Services has nearly 70 years of energy handling experience and has long been a distributor for many of the petroleum industry’s top manufacturers. The experts at Western install and service underground and above grade storage tanks and piping as well as the dispensing equipment for retail customers. They are eager to consult with you about your marine fueling system needs.

For more information or to set up a consultation with one of our professionals, call us at 1-800-663-2097 or head to www.westernoilservices.com for details on all our products and services.