E-10 FUEL Advice for Boaters

E-10 FUEL Advice for Boaters

Boat and Trailer

Boaters should consider additional fuel prep when a boat will not be in use for an extended time period. Photo Courtesy of Florida Sea Grant

Since the introduction of 10% ethanol to gasoline (E-10 fuel) many boaters, including yours truly, have had problems with fouled fuel filters and marine engines not running at their top performance.  The ethanol added to the fuel combines with oxygen increasing the combustion process.  This makes for a more efficient burning fuel and less emissions for the environment.  Sounds great, but it has been a nightmare for mariners.

The problem with boats is that we do not use them on a daily basis as we do our cars.  When E-10 fuel sits it will absorb oxygen via water vapor through the vents.  Over time the ethanol/water mixture begins to separate from the gasoline in a process called “phase separation”.

Extreme separation leaves a milky, rusty brown mixture at the bottom of the fuel tank; right where the intake for the fuel line is on many motors.  This mixture moves through the motor clogging fuel filters, miss-firing, or not running at all.

Water contaminated ethanol fuel creates a mixture that can breakdown fiberglass fuel tanks, fuel lines, and sealing rings releasing particles that plug filters as well.  To counter this problem Jeff Posner, of Posner Marine in Pensacola, recommends a fuel stabilizer that will inhibit phase separation.  The manufacturers state that adding the correct amount will inhibit separation for 12 months.  A colleague of mine has used this product while his boat sat for three months and had no problems with the engine after that period of time.  Posner does recommend you read the label to make sure you are purchasing “marine-grade” stabilizer and not one meant for lawn mowers or chains saws.  CR 4000 fuel lines will inhibit deterioration but Posner mentioned that motors built since 2000 should have these already.


Many boaters park their boats for the winter. There has been a debate as to whether to store the can empty and buy new fuel in spring or store full with stabilizer.  According to several sources the better of the two options is to fill the tank 95% full and add the stabilizer.  Empty space in the tank will fill with water vapor entering through the vents.  More space equals more water which equals more separation which equals more problems.  The tank should be 95% full to allow for expansion of gases.  Many portable fuel tanks do not have vents, thus no water vapor entry, but Posner states any water vapor in the tank will trigger separation if the temperature increases; so keep portable tanks cool and out of the sunlight.  He also recommends that the fuel with stabilizer run through the motor before you park it for the winter.

There are service stations in the Panhandle that sell gasoline with no ethanol; this can also be found at many local marinas.  The cost may be more but could save you frustration and money down the road.  The government is now considering E-15 fuel.  Posner stated that the newer marine engines are designed for the E-10 but not the E-15, and that you should not use that in your boat until newer marine products designed for it are on the market.

So… when storing fuel in your motor over the winter, fill the tank, add stabilizer, run fuel through the motor, and place a new filter/water separator on the line for spring.  With good winter prepping you should have a great boating summer.  You can find more information at the following:





Water Management Summit of Northwest Florida to be held at Niceville Community Center January 31

Water Management Summit Flyer. Great Speakers and Topics for Irrigation and Turf Professionals.

Water is a precious natural resource that often makes headlines. Here in Northwest Florida we have Areas of Special Concern in which it has been determined that availability will not meet the needs as our population grows. Now is the time to make all efforts to conserve this valuable commodity. For those in the landscape industry, water plays a big part in their livelihood. To learn more about water conservation and related issues please attend this Third Annual event January 31, 2013 from 8:00 – 4:30. $15 in advance, $20 at the door. Door Prizes Available for those who registered in advance by January 25! To pre-register call Sheila Dunning, Okaloosa County Commercial Horticulture Extension Agent – 850.689.5850.

Hosted at the Niceville Community Center.

Topics and Speakers include:

Water Use Update – Lauren Connell, Hydrogeologist, Resource Regulation, Northwest Florida Water Management

Landscape Irrigation Water Requirements, What Does the Science Say? – Michael Dukes, Ph.D., Irrigation Specialist, University of Florida

Urban Irrigation Smart Controller Retrofits – Kati Migliaccio, University of Florida, Tropical Research and Education Center

Reclaimed Water – Tom Shannon, Ewing Irrigation

Practical Considerations for Minimizing Environmental Impact of Turf Maintenance – Bryan Unruh, Ph.D., Turfgrass Professor and Associate Center Director, University of Florida, West Florida Research and Education Center

Damage Prevention – Brad Martin, Sunshine One Call 811

Click here to view the entire agenda.


Soil Moisture Sensor Video and Urban Irrigation Scheduler Instructions

ET Controllers Installation and Programming Video

For more resources and information come to the summit and visit http://irrigation.ifas.ufl.edu

Registration Now Open for 2013 NW Florida Artificial Reef Workshop February 19 – 20, 2013 in Niceville, Florida.

planning sponsor logos LARGE

An exciting new event is coming to our area. Northwest Florida’s first Artificial Reef Workshop since 2006 will be held February 19 – 20, 2013 at the Niceville Community Center. The community center is centrally located in the Panhandle and located at 204 N Partin Dr, Niceville, FL 32578. Sessions and guest speakers will provide the latest information regarding Reef Designs, Artificial Reefs and Fisheries Management, Monitoring Tools, Artificial Reef Construction Issues in Inshore and Nearshore State Waters, The Economic Benefits and Impacts of Artificial Reefs in NW Florida, and other artificial reef topics of local interest.

The evening of February 19th there will be an Evening Expo.  At this Expo booths and information will be provided by the Mexico Beach Artificial Reef Association, Emerald Coast Reef Association, Florida Sea Grant, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, local county reef coordinators, and a variety of vendors highlighting their activities and innovations over the last six years.  This event will run from 6:00 – 8:00 PM.

The cost of the 2-day workshop is $40, and this includes meals and refreshments.  The Evening Expo is free.


To register for either the Workshop or Expo please visit:  http://2013nwfarworkshop.eventbrite.com


Workshop organizers are seeking additional vendors, sponsors, and/or donations of promotional items. Showcase your business to federal, state and local government, local reef building associations and private reef builders.  If you would like to participate as a vendor or contribute as a sponsor please contact Candy Hansard by email candy@ecreef.org  or call Scott Jackson at 850-784-6105 to check for space availability. Space is limited, please act soon.

Note:  Previous advertised date of workshop has been changed to avoid potential schedule conflict with Gulf Council Meeting.

Sessions and quest speakers will discuss subjects including reef design, fisheries management, monitoring, goals and strategies, construction issues in state waters, economic benefits and impacts, and other topics of interest. 

Your Watershed “Address:” What is it, and Why it’s Important

Image of Lake Hilda as example of our connections to watersheds

No matter our distance from a lake, wetland, river, or coastline, we all live within the boundaries of a watershed – photo by Judy Ludlow

No matter our distance from a lake, wetland, river, or coastline, we all live within the boundaries of a watershed.  In fact, all land on earth is part of a watershed and all habitats exist within a watershed boundary.  The size of watersheds can vary from a few square feet to millions of acres.  It is important to realize our location is always within a watershed.  All domestic, agricultural, horticultural, or industrial activities that occur in a specific watershed will impact surrounding water quality and quantity.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency defines a watershed as “an area of land where all of the water that is under it or drains off of it goes to a common waterway, such as a stream, lake, estuary, wetland, aquifer, or even the ocean.”  Think of a watershed as a bowl or basin formed by the elevation of surrounding terrain.  Gravity moves rainwater, surface water, and groundwater down the basin to its lowest point ending in a body of water.

Meandering Apalachicola River connects the watershed to Apalachicola Bay and eventually the Gulf of Mexico

Being aware of your actions within the watershed is important to the long term water quality and quantity of your favorite panhandle Florida lake, river, or spring run – photo by Judy Ludlow

With that description in mind (water moving to the lowest point), think about the daily activities within your watershed.  Watersheds contain houses, cars, businesses, natural areas, timber lands, agriculture, gardens, golf courses, shopping malls, pavement, septic systems, factories etc.  So no matter where we are within our watershed, whatever falls to the ground (wash water, chemicals, fertilizers, fuels, oils, wastes, etc.) within that watershed will flow “downhill” to the water system that drains it.  You may think the accidentally spilled motor oil may never reach the nearest lake, but it will impact the surface water and/or ground water as it moves downhill through the watershed.  You may also think one isolated spill is insignificant.  Keep in mind however; the more densely populated a watershed is, the greater the frequency and volume of impacts to surface and ground water will be.

Whether you are a business or individual, becoming aware of your watershed “address” is a novel way to view your essential connection to your water resources.   Becoming aware, also, of your actions within the watershed, is important to the long term water quality and quantity of your favorite Panhandle lake, river, or spring run.

For more information about locating your watershed “address” and about watershed management please see the following resources.

Watersheds – Functions and Management

Find Your Watershed “Address”

Watersheds of Florida: Understanding a Watershed Approach to Water Management

Know Your Watershed

Expedition Florida 500 Launches in Pensacola

It is human nature to explore.  We are a curious species, yearning from birth to stimulate our senses of sight, smell, touch…from an infant’s grab at a colorful toy to an astronaut setting foot on the moon, we thrive on new adventures and understanding. A legend of the Age of Exploration, Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon set foot on Florida’s coast in 1513, and 500 years later, another water-based expedition is taking place.  This time, the explorer sets out not to conquer, but to celebrate the unique ecology and history of Florida. On January 1, University of Florida graduate Justin Riney, founder of a nonprofit advocacy group called Mother Ocean, launched a 365 day standup paddleboard journey around the state. Several standup paddleboarding enthusiasts (myself included) joined him at Big Lagoon State Park in Pensacola to begin the 1,515 mile Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddling Trail, which hugs the coastline south through the Keys and back north to Jacksonville.

The author (back right) participates in the launch of Expedition Florida 500 at Big Lagoon State Park on January 1. Photo Credit: Jackson Berger

The author (top right) participates in the launch of Expedition Florida 500 at Big Lagoon State Park on January 1. Photo Credit: Jackson Berger

Justin plans to paddle for at least 10 miles a day, carrying all of his gear on his board and camping at beaches in each community.  The goal of the trip is not only to help celebrate the 500th anniversary, but he’s partnered with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the University of Florida, and several watersports companies to promote the expedition and highlight conservation of the springs, rivers, estuaries and beaches around our state. He hopes the journey will inspire people to explore and protect our invaluable water resources, and encourages locals to join him at each location to paddle and share knowledge about their waterways. Along the route, he has scheduled almost three weeks to take daylong tours in areas of particular ecological and historical significance. Today several of us joined him on a trip through Pensacola Bay, where we discussed everything from the history of Fort Pickens, to the improvement of water quality in Bayou Chico, to the Appalachian origins of our sugar-white sands.

Captain Robert Turpin, Escambia County Marine Resources, discusses seagrass preservation in Little Sabine Bay with Justin Riney.

Captain Robert Turpin, Escambia County Marine Resources (left), discusses seagrass preservation in Little Sabine Bay with Justin Riney.

In several communities, he plans to lead coastal cleanups. Justin will be paddling from Pensacola through Gulf Breeze tomorrow and to south Okaloosa and Walton counties through January 11. From there, he will continue along the coast, and on to Bay and Franklin counties between the 15-26 of this month. The detailed schedule below outlines his route from the Panhandle and beyond.

Coastal Schedule for 2013 Expedition Florida 500

Coastal Schedule for Expedition Florida 500

You can follow Justin’s experiences at Expedition Florida 500 on Facebook to see updates, photos, and information about where he will be next.  If you’re a standup paddleboarder, kayaker, or just interested in the project, contact him through the page and take the time to be part of this historic journey. And for those of you who live further inland, after reaching Jacksonville on July 4, he plans to paddle back through the state exploring inland waterways–rivers, springs, and lakes–so there’s a good chance Expedition Florida will come to your community this year as well!