Rules of the Oxygen Road

Oxygen safety with livewell oxygen systems, regulators, oxygen cylinders and oxygen generators is absolutely necessary. Pure oxygen and oxygen enriched environments require special safety rules.




Contact an oxygen expert that knows how to safely install an oxygen system on your boat. An expert can teach you how to store, handle and use pure oxygen and oxygen equipment safely.

Oxygen is not air. FACT

Here’s a few “Rules of the Oxygen Road” regarding The gas oxygen and high pressure oxygen cylinders.

Never use, contaminate or lubricate oxygen equipment with petroleum base products, oil, grease, WD-40, etc. EXTREME FIRE HAZARD

Never look into your live well with a burning cigarette in your mouth. EXTREME FIRE HAZARD

Always secure high-pressure oxygen cylinders to the hull of your boat with strong secure straps or brackets. Never leave a high-pressure oxygen cylinder free standing vertically at any time. When the cylinder is not secured, lay it down horizontally. SAFETY HAZARD

Never secure or transport high pressure oxygen cylinders in the boat’s bilge or battery box, to the lid of a plastic ice chest or anywhere that oil or gasoline can contaminate the equipment. Never secure or transport oxygen cylinders anywhere electricity can arch on any metal components of an oxygen system or burn oxygen tubing. FIRE HAZARD

Steel oxygen cylinders require hydrostatic testing every 10 years; aluminum cylinders every 5 years. The last hydrostatic test date is stamped into the tank’s shoulder. The stamp will be the month (a triangle, diamond or star) the year… 03 ∆ 14. CYLINDER SAFETY

Always use a clean rag with freshwater to clean oxygen system components. If you need more than water for cleaning, use ethanol (EVERCLEAR), it’s oil free (rubbing alcohol contains trace amounts of oil). Use ethanol externally on system components only and allow to dry completely after cleaning. Do not use ethanol internally anywhere within the gas circuit. Use equipment only after all ethanol has completely evaporated. Never expose ethanol vapors or ethanol to oxygen (the gas). Methanol should never be used to clean oxygen equipment, methanol is not oil free. OIL CONTAMINATION IS A FIRE HAZARD

Always crack (open the oxygen tank valve slowly to blow out dust and foreign material) in the oxygen cylinder valve before connecting the regulator. After connecting the regulator, open the oxygen cylinder valve slowly. HIGH PRESSURE SAFETY

Always use system components including oxygen supply tubing that has been CLEANED AND CERTIFIED FOR PURE OXYGEN SERVICE. Do not use air tubing purchased at hardware stores or aquarium stores for pure oxygen service. Air tubing contains trace amounts of petroleum product (oil). FIRE HAZARD

Never use cleaning solvents, WD-40, isopropyl alcohol (household rubbing alcohol) or any other cleaning products or any oil base products on oxygen equipment or in oxygen enriched environments. FIRE HAZARD

Never use oil or oil based lubricants on oxygen regulator threads or cylinder valve threads, hose barbs etc. If you must use lubricants, special lubricants compatible with pure oxygen service must be used. FIRE HAZARD

Never place oxygen supply tubes adjacent to live electrical wires or inside a wiring chase, battery compartment or boat bilge area. Oxygen is heaver than air. If tubing is placed in the boat’s bilge and a tubing leak occurs, the highest concentration of oxygen will accumulate in the bottom of the boat’s bilge where oil and fuel accumulate. FIRE HAZARD


FACT: A boat fire extinguisher will not extinguish an oxygen enriched [24% O2 or greater] fire. Turn off the oxygen gas source terminating the oxygen flow or oxygen production with an oxygen generator and then put the fire out with your boat fire extinguisher.

FACT: If any livewell oxygen system does not deliver enough oxygen for enrichment (24% – 100% oxygen) the fire hazard is no greater than the fire hazard in air. Livewell oxygen systems (oxygen injection systems and oxygen generator systems) all claim to deliver high concentrations of oxygen resulting in oxygen enrichment and oxygen rich livewell environments.

These oxygen safety rules and more apply to all livewell oxygen systems and all oxygenated livewells and bait tanks on boats or on land.

Livewell oxygen systems that cannot deliver enough oxygen to produce oxygen enrichment, provide <24% O2 and are no more effective than an aerator pumping air or livewell water pump pumping water through livewells and bait tanks. Actually, they can kill bait or fish (suffocation/hypoxia) in bait tanks and livewells quicker than aerators and water pumps when and if they fail to provide the minimal safe DO Saturation during transports.

A PARADOX: Oxygenator™ and FishO2™ salesmen and boat manufacturers that sell these livewell generators when asked, do not and will not mention or discuss oxygen gas (fire) safety yet their salesmen and promotional literature says their livewell equipment generates 90% and 100% pure oxygen. CAUTION: A HIDDEN FIRE HAZARD



Oxygen – rich environments (24% oxygen or >) accumulates in livewell gas spaces when the livewell lid is closed.

Oxygen – rich environments requires the same precautions and fire safety standards as pure 100% gaseous oxygen environments. Know oxygen fire risk and practice oxygen fire safety in oxygen – rich gas spaces. promotional advertisement

• Creates an oxygen-rich environment to keep fish fresh and lively

“This is the most efficient means of maintaining high-levels of oxygen in a livewell and nothing comes close to the OXYGENATOR’S ability to create an oxygen-rich environment.”

Although fire safety is a non-issue in this advertisement, all oxygen – rich gas spaces demand special respect in any livewell. Oxygen is not Air.


TPWD, Inland Fisheries Division, San Antonio, TX Publication by Fishery Biologist Randy Myers AquaInnovations Oxygenator 2-14-2012

Claims to “generated 100% pure oxygen.”

Fires fueled with oxygen [gas] are very different than fires fueled with air [gas]. It makes no difference if the oxygen fueling the fire comes from a PSA oxygen generator, electrolysis oxygen generator, liquid (LOX) or compressed gas oxygen system. The oxygen source must be terminated before the fire can be extinguished if the oxygen generator is capably of oxygen enrichment (24% – 100% oxygen).

Knowing and understanding the gas, oxygen, and oxygen equipment at home, in your shop and on your boat is absolutely necessary in order to be safe.

Not knowing and not understanding the gas or your livewell oxygen equipment increase fire risk on your boat. Knowing oxygen safety and oxygen rules are the issue.

Practicing the “Rules of the Oxygen Road” are necessary to reduce risk and maximize safety. Think safety and be safe when using oxygen and any kind of livewell oxygen system. Oxygen and oxygen equipment demand utmost respect. Oxygen is not air.


When buying a high pressure oxygen regulator for your live well oxygen system, always confirm with the seller that the regulator you’re buying has passed the Compressed Gas Association (CGA) E-4 Ignition Test and is Certified.

Repackaged, relabeled, rebranded click-style pediatric medical oxygen regulator are sold to fishermen as livewell oxygen system equipment.

Click-style medical oxygen regulators are manufactured for use in medical environments, hospitals, clinics, etc. unlike the hostile environments found in saltwater and freshwater fishing. Medical oxygen regulators are made of many metal alloys to reduce cost. Flow rates are always calibrated in liters per minute of fractions of liters per minute for all pediatric medical regulators.

When you see a click-style oxygen regulator calibrated in liters per minute sold as a fishing regulator… “CAVEAT EMPTOR!”

Medical regulator bodies are made of aluminum alloy (many colors), some are chrome plated. The chrome plating is distinctive, very shiny, like chrome on a car.

Medical regulators are made with many alloys that are especially vulnerable to electrolysis and pitting seen in saltwater fishing environments. Electrolysis can create serious safety issue with high pressure oxygen equipment.

The Oxygen Edge™ regulators are tested and E-4 Certified, safe from ignition or fire caused by adiabatic compression and other extreme operational conditions. OE regulators are back pressure compensated in order to deliver a continuous precision dose of oxygen. OE regulators provide the correct dose of oxygen for live bait and fish loads ranging from several ounces to 225 lbs.

Any click style oxygen regulators that are not E-4 Ignition Test Certification, either failed to pass the test or were never tested at all may be a FIRE HAZARD. If you buy any click style oxygen regulator be sure the seller verifies the regulator he sells you is E-4 Ignition Test Certified. FIRE SAFETY.

Safety on fishing boats is a matter of your peace of mind when fishing oxygen regulators are exposed to extreme saltwater environments. Many brands of oxygen regulators sold to fishermen for livewell oxygen systems have not passed the E-4 Ignition Test and are not Certified. Caution is advised if the regulator is not E-4 Ignition Test Certified.

The Compressed Gas Association (CGA) recommends E-4 Ignition Testing for all manufacturers of click style high-pressure oxygen regulators.

Be informed and always confirm with the seller about E-4 Testing and Certification before you purchase any oxygen regulator.