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Published on 27/02/2017

Span Gases: What you need to know

Is the engine of your marine vehicle compliant with emissions limits? Regulations set forth by governments, international bodies, and regulatory acts require the propulsion mechanism for personal and commercial craft to meet certain standards that protect you, your cargo, and your vehicle from hazardous gases. These requirements necessitate the use of gas detecting instruments. The best way to ensure that your gas detection equipment is functioning correctly is regular, accurate calibration using high-quality span gases.


Depending on where you live, your maritime propulsion engine will fall into certain categories. Check your country’s laws to find out which category your propulsion device falls into, and which regulations apply to your specific engine type.

United Kingdom: The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCS) is responsible for describing the obligations and safety requirements governing propulsion systems that move and control vehicles. You can learn more about these safety requirements from www.gov.uk.

United States: In the US, the major regulatory acts signed by the EPA include the 1999 Marine Engine Rule, 2002 Recreational Engine Rule, 2003 Category 3 Engine Rule, the 2008 Category ½ Engine Rule, and the 2009 Category 3 Engine Rule. Find out which laws apply you at www.epa.gov.

If you are shipping goods across international waters, the Technical Code on Control Emission of Nitrogen Oxides from Marine Diesel Engines describes engine testing and verification procedures necessary to meet the current standards required by the International Maritime Organization (IMO). You can use any certified gas so long as it meets the specification of the EMS manufacturer and the accuracy defined in the NOX technical code.


Commercial craft charged with transporting gases must also adhere to additional rules which pertain to the proper handling, storage, and transportation of potentially hazardous material. These laws are covered in the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and by the rules issued by the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

Ensuring compliance with safety and environmental regulations means you’ll be doing a lot of mandatory testing, and using a lot of calibration gas! Thankfully, all these requirements don’t have to add up to huge costs. By using FastCalGas as your supplier, you’ll maximise your savings and your safety.


Marine vehicle owners, operators, and workers cannot rely on human senses to detect the presence of toxic or combustible gases. Many of these hazardous substances are odourless, and you won’t know there’s a problem until it’s too late! As such, we need gas detectors to sense potential dangers for us. For the detectors to work as intended, however, they must be correctly calibrated.

Calibration tests (such as bump checks before each use, field verification, full checks, and factory checks) allow you to verify the accuracy of your detection device. This process involves comparing gases with known concentrations, known as “span gases” or “calibration gases,” with the results provided by your gas-detecting instrument. Span gases are reference gases, or gas mixtures, that are of a precisely-defined nature or composition. Span gases must also be traceable to national or international standards.

Martek Marine is the only eCommerce website where you can purchase these types of gases online. You can find butane, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, methane, chlorine, oxygen, nitrogen, and more! Don’t see the exact combination you’re looking for? No problem! We also supply bespoke gas mixtures, customised for your specific requirements. All you have to do is ask!


Martek Marine offers span gases that meet the highest standards of quality. FastCalGas, your one-stop-shop for all of your span gas needs, offers reactive mixtures with a unique, market-leading 27-month shelf life. Even better, the cylinders are recyclable, and we even offer a specialised recycling tool to render the used cylinders ready for processing. Additionally, FastCalGas stocks two global standard regulators, the CGA600 Valve (71 series) and C-10 Valve (70 series).

Since our founding in 1999, Martek Marine has been dedicated to revolutionising ship safety, performance, and crew welfare. We’re ISO9001:2008 certified and a prime manufacturer of speciality gases used by OEM and major oil and gas companies. Our extensive experience in the industry and commitment to excellence is why our marine supplies are actively sought after by shipping companies all over the world. You can trust Martek Marine to provide the best, affordable span gases for your detection equipment, delivered to you right where and when you need it—guaranteed!

Why not try FastCalGas for free? We are offering new customers the opportunity to give FastCalGas a try – Not only will you get your first calibration gas order for nothing, we will also throw in a free regulator too. For regular customers, we offer an ongoing, Lifetime Happiness Guarantee which means that if at any point, you are unhappy with the quality of gas, delivery or service – we will give you your money back plus an additional 10% for the inconvenience! To take up this offer, send us an email, give us a call or send us a message.