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Marine Warning

WARNING

Do not use RV or mobile gensets on a boat.   Such use may violate U.S. Coast Guard regulations, and can result in severe personal injury or death from fire, explosion, electrocution, or carbon monoxide poisoning.  Marine type diesel generators are available for use on a boat.

SOME REASONS

One big issue is cooling. Most marine generators are installed below deck in an engine room or compartment. Because of the more-limited cooling air in that environment, marine generators come with a water heat exchanger and circulating pump that provides cooling via sea water. On the other hand, RV generators are air cooled -- either directly or by using a liquid cooled engine with a radiator. Therefore they need lots of cooling air flow. Another issue is exhaust leakage. Since an RV generator is installed in a compartment open to outside air, carbon monoxide (CO) buildup is less likely. But if installed below deck in the confines of an engine room, any CO leakage in the exhaust piping can be dangerous. CO is not normally an issue with diesel engines.

Some boat owners do use RV generators -- but only in cases where they can mount them on the roof or deck of the boat. This reduces the cooling and CO concerns.

Some manufacturers still sell gasoline powered marine gensets.