Many thanks to Ken Jacobsen for contributing his drawings for a cockpit propane locker!

Installation of a Cockpit Propane Locker

The installation is aft of the existing cockpit lockers. Either the port or starboard side may be used. The arrangement shown is for a 10 lb. tank, regulator, solenoid valve and pressure gauge, with their associated plumbing and hose.

Cut a square out of the seat top about 2" from the existing locker scupper. The fore and aft dimensions of the square, which will become the new locker lid, should be large enough to fit the tank plus the width of the new side scuppers. This will be about 14-15" for a 10 lb tank.

Mock up the actual locker from heavy cardboard or 1/4" plywood and test fit until you're happy with the fit. Then build it. I built mine from 1/4" Luan plywood with corner reinforcements, covered inside and out with fiberglass cloth and epoxy. Corners got an additional layer of fiberglass tape. The bottom of the box is two layers of 3/4" marine plywood. The top layer is cut out to just fit the base ring of a 10 lb tank, and a drain fitting was installed in the bottom.

You'll notice (I hope) from the drawings that the outboard part of the new locker, the part that will be under the deck when it is installed, has a permanent "lid". The outboard, or rear, scupper fits against this lid, which is necessary to make the locker gas- and water-tight.

Test fit the locker (from underneath), then install the plumbing, hose fittings, gauges, and tank to suit your own preference. Be sure to locate all fittings, gauges, etc. before the tank is installed permanently. Use watertight through-bulkhead fittings for gas hose and solenoid wiring.

Build up the pieces for the side and back scuppers from 3/4" stock, coated and filleted with epoxy. Temporarily screw the pieces to the locker, and test fit the whole business. When it looks good, temporarily screw the scuppers to the seat top, and on the forward end, to the aft wall of the existing cockpit locker scupper. Remove screws and remove locker and scuppers. Don't fasten it permanently at this point!

Clean up the edges of the piece you cut out of the seat, which will be the new locker top. Fit it and fasten in place using a piano hinge and caulking. Check the location of the hinge to ensure that the cockpit coaming will not get in the way of the locker opening all the way.

Coat the locker parts with thickened epoxy and fasten everything in place. Caulk and fill with epoxy where needed and connect hose to drain and overboard at a location above the waterline.

For information, I used a Xintex propane control panel and solenoid. The panel is mounted on the aft cabin bulkhead and the sniffer in the bilge below the stove, at about the same level as the bottom of the engine alternator.

The job does not require great technical or mechanical skill. Take your time, measure and fit everything twice, and it's a piece of cake.

-- Ken Jacobsen,
Invincible Summer

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