Transporting petroleum spirit in portable containers

Guidance Note from the RYA  - Up dated March 2005

Using a vehicle to purchase petrol for your boat, Club or Sailing School:-

Current Regulations allow you to use a vehicle to purchase, from a filling station, a maximum of 333 litres of petrol at any one time providing:-

- You are taking the fuel directly for use in your Boat, Club or Sailing School

- You are not intending to “store” the petrol in your vehicle, overnight or longer 

- The petrol filling station permits this level of purchase at any one time.  Petroleum Licenses sometimes specify single purchase maximum quantities. 

- A combination of one or more of the following “suitable” containers is used for the purchase:-

•  Plastic containers for petrol storage must be "suitable", made of special strong plastic and of no more than 5 litres capacity. They must be indelibly marked with the words "Petroleum Spirit - Highly flammable". There are no plastic containers of over 5 litres that are "approved". Normally 5 litre  approved plastic containers for petroleum use are either red or green. 

•  Metal containers for petrol storage must be “suitable”, have a secure lid with a washer seal to prevent leaks or evaporation (e.g. jerry cans). They may be filled with petrol on a petrol station forecourt provided their capacity does not exceed 23 litres (5 gallons). These containers must also be indelibly marked with the words "Petroleum spirit - Highly flammable".

•  Outboard petrol tanks whether plastic or metal must be “suitable” and may be filled on a petrol station forecourt. Additional approved spare tanks may also be filled at the same time.

Storage of petroleum spirit

•  In a vehicle – In addition to the normal amount in a vehicles fuel tank, Motor Vehicle Regulations currently allows up to 30 litres of petroleum spirit to be permanently stored in a vehicle or in its normal domestic garage. This storage must be in suitable containers as follows: - 2 x 10 litre in metal containers plus 2x 5 litres in plastic containers.

•  At your Club - If your Club's petroleum storage facility exceeds 30 litres but is less than 275 litres (45 gallon drum size) then you are required to notify your local authority. 

-    Petroleum storage facilities should ideally be self contained and set at least 6 metres away from other premises or public areas. -    The 30 litre permissible allowance applies to each separate storage area, so it could be acceptable for your Club to have more than one storage area each of less than 30 litres. In this case, your Club you may not be required to notify the Local Authority.

•  In your boat - Current storage regulations also allows outboard petrol tanks to be stored in their boat provided they are properly connected to the engine.

However, if fuel tanks are removed from engines and stored separately, then the Local Authority will need to be notified if their collective stored volume again exceeds the 30 litre allowance. 

These notes are for guidance only and were compiled from the relevant sections within the following Regulations:-

- The Carriage of Dangerous Goods and Use of Transportable Pressure Equipment Regulations 2004

- Petroleum Consolidation Act 1928

- Petroleum Spirit (Motor Vehicle) Regulations 1929

- Petroleum Spirit (Plastic containers) Regulations 1982

If you have any concerns about the safety of your Club's petroleum spirit storage facility, we recommend you consult with your local Petroleum Licensing authority for advice on the suitability and safety of your present arrangements

         As the regulations differ for Clubs with employees you should contact your Local Trading Standard Officer, Petroleum Licensing Officer or the Health & Safety Executive for full details of the rules relating to storage of petrol in a working environment.

.          The legislation on the storage of petrol is being updated and simplified over the next few years.  Do stay in touch with you Local Trading Standards Officer who will be able to keep you up to date and informed of the changes and how they affect you.

         The Association for Petroleum and Explosives Administration website is full of useful information and can provide you with contact details for your local Licensing Authority ww.apea.org.uk