Boat Fuel Vents 101

Do you know what kind of fuel vent your boat has? Don’t feel bad if you don’t. New boat owners may not even know their boat has this piece of hardware, much less what kind it is, or where it is located. Here are the basic facts you need to know.


The purpose of a boat fuel vent is to allow fumes to disperse before starting the engine. Because these fumes can explode, removing them is an important safety precaution. The U.S. Coast Guard requires venting of fuel in all inboard and outboard gasoline engines.


The location of the fuel vent is not always obvious. It is usually on the same side and just below the fill pipe, although on some models the vent opens directly into the fill hose. The best way to find it is to follow your nose to the source of the strongest gasoline odor.


It’s good to know what type you have, in case you need to find a replacement part. Here are some common designs:

  • Cowl
  • Mushroom
  • Clamshell
  • Louvered

The fuel vent may not be the most fascinating aspect of your boat, but it is one of the most important. Being familiar with how your vessel functions will help you keep it running smoothly.