Houseboat Refrigerators - are dual LP Propane Gas electric fridges approved?

by Frank
(Dale Hollow, KY)

Houseboat Fridges - dual LP propane gas electric refrigerators

Houseboat Fridges - dual LP propane gas electric refrigerators

I'm looking into houseboat refrigerators, and are LP propane gas fridges approved for house boat use, or are they being banned or illegal?

I was just at the houseboat show in Louisville and during the marine surveyors seminar, he said that having a dual propane LP gas/110 electric refrigerator is now illegal on houseboats.

I have a Norcold dual gas/electric refrigerator on my 1969 Sylvan boat, and would like to know if I should be concerned?

Thanks, Frank

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Reply - Answer
Well Frank, glad that you were at the Houseboat Show, and am pleased that you share this information with us.

I am presently unaware that they are illegal, and would love to know what the marine regulations or requirements are?

I would imagine that older, factory installed Propane Gas LP fridges are still allowed, but I would imagine that any "new" or factory installed refrigerators, may no longer be the dual LP/electric models.

I see that they are being used and installed in RV's and motor-homes, so it would be nice to hear from a Marine Surveyor what the new regulations exactly are. It has always been a grey area in the boating industry.

I also wonder if the new law / regulation affects pontoon style, or full hull houseboats, as a propane gas leak can accumulate in an enclosed full hull, or lower bilge area.

Lastly, hopefully some of our readers and visitors will share and post comments about their dual LP propane gas electric houseboat fridge installations and experiences.

Feel free to use the "Click here to post comments." link found near the bottom of this page.

Thanks again for sharing, IAN from all-about-houseboats

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Propane Refrigerators on Houseboats
by: Anonymous

A reference to Coast Guard regulation 8-2009-361-78 was made by one of the responders. I cannot find such a regulation number nor can I find any prohibition regarding the use of propane refrigerators.

There are numerous regulations on the use of propane on boats but nothing specific to refrigerators. I queried by son-in-law who is a volunteer with the Coast Guard Auxiliary and he could find no reference specific to refrigerators either.

Could Bill V give a more specific reference as I'm about to replace my "fridge" and would like to again go with 120 volt / gas.

By the way, as one would with a motorhome of travel trailer you should never use the gas while you are in transit.

Looking for information.

searching for regulation
by: Frank

I cannot find the regulation that Bill V is talking about. I have had 2 houseboats within the last 2 years that have had a marine survey and both had brand new LP/electric refrigerators installed.

The marine surveyor knew that the refrigerator had just been replaced in both instances.

I really like to stay ahead of the game and would love to find where the regulation is.

by: Anonymous

I sure hope this has loopholes if it is true. Having a propane fridge on my last two houseboats has been a godsend to staying out on the water for days on end without moving the boat from a nice deserted island.

A possible alternative could be a high end $ frig that stores the compressed gas so it can cool for many hours without the electric compressor even running.


New houseboat fridge and Refrigerator regulations
by: Bill V

You have hit the nail on the head. According to the new laws I looked into, ( while building my own) I have been told that all new refrigerator installations are 12 volt DC/120 volt AC are the only ones allowed. All those that have been installed prior to 8-2009 are ok to use.

If you have to replace a unit on an older boat, you must replace with the newer 12-24/120 volt type. This is in accordance with US Coast Gaurd 8-2009-361-78 of the safety regulations.

I hope this helps, Bill V.

Reply - Answer
Well Bill, thanks a million for sharing this information with us.

IAN from

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