Gasoline inboard engines present a bit of an issue on boats. Gasoline vapors are explosive, and the liquid vaporizes easily. On an outboard motor, the fumes simply vent away and all is well, but on an inboard motor, the fumes collect.
In Fort Pierce, one such gasoline powered inboard boat went up in flames! There were people on board the boat at the time of the fire but all of them managed to escape without serious harm. The local fire department and Coast Guard responded instantly and the boat fire was extinguished in a matter of minutes!
Gasoline doesn't need to be ostracized from boating, but when using the fuel, very careful steps need to be taken to prevent a disaster such as this.
First: if possible, keep all the gasoline outside so that fumes can vent away.
If the tanks or motor are inside, then this is not possible.
Second: maintain good ventilation into the area so that any fumes that form are evacuated quickly.
Third: only use marine grade components in a gasoline powered vessel. Yes, your boat starter might look identical to the starter you can buy at a local auto parts store for half the price, but there are differences; most notably, marine parts will not cause any sparks so if there are fumes in the area they will not ignite.
Gasoline is an explosive fuel source and should be treated carefully as such. With proper care and maintenance, your gasoline powered vessel will be a safe place for you to enjoy your time on the water.