All gasoline-powered boats need a ventilation system. Fumes can build up from the engine and collect in the bilge, which could create a dangerous explosion.
There are two types of boat ventilation systems: natural and power.
- Natural ventilation systems have an intake duct which brings fresh air into the bilge. They also have an exhaust duct that removes fumes from the bilge. As the boat is in motion, air moves through the ducts.
- Power ventilation systems have blowers that circulate air through the ducts. This type of ventilation system is required on all boats with fuel tanks and enclosed engines built after 1982.
Power ventilation systems should always be turned on for at least four minutes before the engine is started to ensure all fumes are removed before ignition.