Tips for Propane Grills

We love grilling aboard!  What’s better than sitting in the cockpit, sipping a glass of wine while the sun sets then firing up the grill and enjoying the fresh fish that David caught earlier that afternoon?  But using gas for grilling, poses extra safety precautions for commuter cruisers who only use their grills six months a year or less, with extended “away” or down time in between.

Tips for Propane Grills

  1. Grilling accidents are very rare, but when they occur, usually it is after the grill has not been used for a while — common with seasonal cruisers.  Before using the grill, or after reattaching the grill’s gas container, take a minute to perform these safety checks.
    • Visually inspect hoses for cracks. loose connections or blockages.
    • Check for gas leaks by turning on the gas and swabbing the connections and hoses with soapy water.   If you see bubbles, fix the leak before using the grill.
  1. Use common sense.  If you smell propane while cooking, turn off the grill and do not re-ignite. Never check for propane leaks using a match.  If a camping propane canister shows signs of excessive rust, gouges or bulges, opt on the side of safety and do not use it.
  1. Use normal caution storing propane tanks.   If you use camping propane canisters, they should be stored upright in a dry and cool location.   Never store them near the grill.
  1. When lighting a gas grill, always keep the lid open to prevent gas accumulating in a fire flash.  If the burner doesn’t light, turn off the gas and wait several minutes before trying to light it again.  If the burners go out while grilling, turn the gas to off and wait a few minutes.  Open the lid before relighting.  When not in use, turn the propane OFF.

    Anchored in the Rio Chagres, Panama along with all the sloths, howler monkeys, spider monkeys, toucans and green parrots!

We deliberately do not plumb our gas grill into the main boat propane supply.  We’ve always considered the grill an “alternate” cooking source – if something happens to the main propane supply, or we inadvertantly run out of the main supply of propane (it’s never happened, but you never know!), we have another way to cook.   We also have a microwave that’s primarily used as storage for bread, but it could be called into action if needed.

However you choose to use your grill, be sure to USE it!  I’m amazed at how many grills on boats are never used.





  1. Leon A. Falde says:

    Very good set of rules for a propane grill on or off a boat. One other thing I was made aware of recently was to replace the regulator on a regular basis. The manufacturer of the regulator should be able to supply a recommended replacement schedule. I’ve been told that in lieu of better information, replace it at the beginning of every grilling season. If it is stored outside or in an unheated (or uncooled) area, the diaphragm can become brittle and crack leading to leakage or, in worst case, a flash fire. Happy and safe grilling.

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