WEBPAGE UPDATED Tuesday June 22, 2022
Pure 100% oxygen, “oxygen-enrichment,” “oxygen-rich” air entrained into bait pumps and livewell pumps using bait pump venturi devices is a potential fire hazard if the bait water pump is not certified for use with oxygen or use in an “oxygen-enriched” environment.
The source oxygen gas may come high pressure compressed oxygen cylinders, T-H Marine Oxygenators, PSA oxygen generators or hydrogen peroxide (H2O2).
*Electric bait pumps and livewell pumps should never be modified to entrain pure oxygen or “oxygen enriched” gas into the inlet side of the electric water pump under any conditions.
OXYGEN SAFETY IS IMPORTANT
Electrical device and live electricity should never be used in any oxygen enriched environment – (24% oxygen or greater). Water pumps and live electrical wires used inside livewell and bait tanks are potential fire hazards, prohibited and pose an unnecessary liability risk.
The risk of ignition and fire is greatly enhanced when oxygen is carelessly and improperly used in oxygen enriched environments. Live electricity (electric pumps and wires) inside an oxygen-enriched livewell or bait tank is a serious fire hazard. Oxygen tubing run adjacent to electrical wires inside a wiring chase or center console is a fire safety hazard.
Livewell pumps, bait pumps and bilge pumps – The ISO 8846 Certification required on pump specification plates and instructions DOES NOT CERTIFY OR IMPLY ANY SAFE USE WHEN PURE 100% OXYGEN IS ENTRAINED INTO THE PUMPS’ IMPELLERS, USING THE PUMP AS AN OXYGEN SPARGER/DIFFUSER OR OPERATING THE PUMP INSIDE OXYGEN ENRICHED ENVIRONMENTS (LIVEWELLS AND BAIT TANKS).
Electric water pumps that are safe to use with oxygen in oxygen-rich environments are labeled with a different ISO Certification number.
We asked company officials that manufacturer oxygen, the gas, and bait tank pumps commonly used in livewells, bait tanks and boat bilges about “safety” when using their livewell and bait pumps in conjunction with pure oxygen creating oxygen-enriched environments.
Air Products and Chemical Corporation
Air Products and Chemical Corporation is one of the largest manufacturers of oxygen in America: Jack Mitroka, Manager, Electrical Engineering Division, (610) 481-5505
Mitroka comments: “I have looked this over and asked a few others here to comment. Based on what we see, my recommendations would be to refer to the NFPA Recommendations on Oxygen-enriched areas. Without the equipment being specifically rated for the O2 duty, I think it would be difficult to market this type of product. The potential is there for a problem. You have oxygen, ignition source, and fuel. Unless the system is specifically designed (and maybe even tested) to mitigate that risk, I would be concerned that there would be liability if something did happen.”
Rule Inc. is a major manufacturer of livewell pumps, bait tank pumps and bilge pumps. Steve Tilvers, National Product Manager (978) 281-0440
Tilvers comments regarding safety and use of Rule submersible pumps in oxygen-enriched environments, bait tanks and livewells:
FACT: “Rule, Inc. assumes absolutely no risk or liability when their submersible pumps are modified to entrain pure oxygen or operated in oxygen-enriched livewell or bait tank environments.”
FACT: “Rule pumps are not designed or manufactured for use in oxygen-enriched environments and Rule pumps have never been tested or certified for use within oxygen-enriched environments.”
Tilvers strongly advises NOT to use Rule submersible pumps in oxygen enriched environments such as livewells and bait tanks because of the risk of ignition and fire and associated legal liability.
Tilvers confirms that Rule submersible pumps are “Ignition Protected for Electrical Devices” and ISO 8846 certified. ISO 8846 certification means, the pump has been tested and certified for use with relative safety within AIR ENVIRONMENTS ONLY that contain fuel and or fuel vapors, like a boat’s bilge.
Here, a Rule livewell pump (ISO 8846 certification) has been modified to entrain pure oxygen supplied by what appears to be a medical (green shoulder with silver body) emergency oxygen cylinder. This is an example of what Tilvers at Rule, Inc. says DO NOT USE because of the danger of ignition and fire.
Lew Haeck, President and CEO of Attwood Pumps, (616) 897-2290
Regarding the use and safety of Attwood submersible bilge or bait pumps used in oxygen-enriched bait tanks and livewell environments.
FACT: Haeck advises NOT to use any Attwood pumps in oxygen enriched environments like livewells and bait tanks. Attwood assumes no risk or liability when their pumps are modified and misused. Attwood submersible pumps are also “Ignition Protected for Electrical Devices”, ISO 8846 and certified for use in AIR/FUEL FUMES ENVIRONMENTS ONLY, NOT OXYGEN ENRICHED ENVIRONMENTS.
Johnson Pumps of America, Inc.
Tony Wuethrich, Sales Manager Industrial and Commercial Pump Division, (847) 671-7867
Wuethrich comments: “We cannot recommend using our product within oxygen-enriched livewells. Our product is not certified to be used in oxygen enriched environments nor is it designed to be used within these environments. With this recommendation Johnson Pump of America will not assume any product liability if the product is used outside of its intended design purpose of pumping pure water.”
FACT: “Pure Oxygen Flowing through any Electro-Mechanical Device is Considered Quite Dangerous.” (800) 599-7505 mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
Bottom line: Using any electrical device that’s not specifically designed, engineered, manufactured and certified for use in an oxygen enriched bait tank or livewell environment has inherent risk of ignition and fire.
According to manufacturer’s responses to our inquiry: Rule, Inc., Attwood Pumps, Johnson Pumps and Air Products and Chemical Corporation all say their products may not be safe when modified, misused and operated in oxygen enriched bait tanks and livewell environments.
A phone call to a manufacturer representative and a direct question regarding these safety issues cuts through myths, misinformation, disinformation and ignorance. We have listed manufacturers and executives’ phone numbers for your convenience. Be safe, be informed and any time you’re unsure, always ask the experts before using any electrical device (including electric lights and electric wires) in oxygen-enriched livewells and bait tanks.
Remember the electrical malfunction on an Apollo mission a few years back? An electrical short in the oxygen enriched cabin caused the fatal oxygen fire that killed three astronauts. Most ‘off the shelf’ electrical devices and equipment found in boats, bait tanks and livewells are not safe for use in oxygen enriched environments.
Please Visit: “Homemade Fishing Oxygen Systems” for more information about hazards, problems and risks associated with oxygen systems and electric water pump motors.
Be safe, be alert, be educated and always be responsible with oxygen fire safety and oxygen equipment on fishing boats.