The Recreational Mariner's Guide

2. Norway

Electricity, Fuel and Cooking Gas


A long lead will come in handy to access centrally-located electrical panels

In Norway, as in the UK and Europe, electric power is 220 volt, 50 cycle. Sockets seem to come in three types:

  • UK/European-style 16-amp three-pin outdoor and marine plug—most common.
  • Round two-pin European-style household-type plug—less common as being replaced with the three-pin 16-amp plug.
  • Larger UK/European-style 32-amp three-pin outdoor and marine plug—very rare.

If you come across one of the increasingly rare two-pin plugs on a dock,  be aware that there is no way to determine correct polarity—a very dangerous situation for a boat with a grounded neutral wire, as many North American boats are. 

We have also been informed by one contributor that the ground (earth) wire is often not connected to a true ground (earth) even when a three-pin socket is present and that the neutral may be floating above ground (earth) potential too. If that is true, plugging in could make every piece of metal on your boat live.

Whatever the facts, we are dealing with 220 volts around salt water, a potentially killing combination. Of course, the best defense against electrocution is a properly-installed isolation transformer (see below).

Making your shore power system safer at Attainable Adventure Cruising

110-Volt Boats

Shore Power

If your boat runs on 110 volts, you will need an adaptor. We fashioned a pig tail with a North American female marine plug on one end, to fit into the North American male marine plug on our shore power lead, and a European male marine plug on the other end. We also made up a 30-m extension cord with a European female marine plug on one end and a two-pin male plug on the other end. Armed with this lot, which we easily made up with parts available from an electrical supply store, we could plug into just about anything.

Ship’s Power

North American boats will also need to fit a transformer to convert from 220-volt shore power to 110-volt ship’s power. While you are at it, you might as well make it an isolation transformer, which has the added benefit of increasing safety and reducing the chances of galvanic corrosion. 

A transformer will allow a North American boat to run many 220-volt appliances, but remember that it won’t change the frequency, meaning that any equipment with a motor that is not made to handle 50 cycles will overheat.

MasterVolt SoftStart damps down the initial surge that can blow the dock breaker when a transformer-equipped boat switches on.



Diesel for boats is exempt from the road tax applied to diesel for automobiles and a green dye is added to differentiate it; but with all the other taxes added to the cost (C02, NOX, mineral oil…) it is no longer that much cheaper than ordinary road-taxed diesel.

As of October 1, 2023, diesel sold to the marine market will have 6 to 7% biofuel (FAME) added. HVO (Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil) is available at a few locations on the southeast coast.

Many marine diesel fuel points (on wharves, pontoons, in marinas) are unattended and have a credit card-activated fuel pump. Though some of these credit card machines don’t take foreign credit cards, this is changing rapidly throughout Norway and most now do. 

Larger harbours will usually have a bunkering facility for ships and will often have a pontoon as well for smaller boats. If there is no pontoon, it will probably be necessary to fuel at high water in order to deal with the large quay. 

Another option is to have fuel delivered by truck, but often these trucks only have large nozzles and don’t like to deal in small amounts of fuel. 

The motto here is never miss an opportunity to fuel when it’s relatively easy!


Petrol is readily available in the summer season on the south coast where large outboard engines are the norm. For the rest of the coast, you must be prepared to carry jerry cans from the nearest petrol station.

Cooking Gas

Propane (liquefied petroleum gas—LPG)

Unfortunately, there has been little standardization of gas cylinders and regulators between Scandinavia, Europe, and North America or even, for that matter, among the Scandinavian countries.

Photos of Norwegian cylinder and regulator types

There are two large suppliers of propane to the Norwegian market: AGA and Nippon. These companies only deal with standard cylinders and the consumer market is served on an exchange basis. The cylinders are then refilled in large automated plants. They will not accept foreign cylinders. 

However, LPG Norge has developed a chain of propane filling stations for automobiles where you can get some foreign propane bottles filled, including Camping Gaz. Because the emphasis has been on propane for automobiles, the locations of the filling stations are not always that handy for boats. Although they claim to have adaptors to fit most cylinders, it would be worthwhile carrying an adaptor which you know will fit your cylinder.

Map of LPG Norge filling stations

Another facility that may fill foreign propane tanks is VestGass at Straumane, north of Bergen.

However, though the situation is changing, it is still not possible to fill foreign cylinders in most places in Norway, so there are several ways to get around the problem:

  • You can carry enough propane to last the time you will be in Norway. 
  • You can purchase a Norwegian industrial-type bottle and use it directly on a North American system. We understand this will work and that the threads are the same but we have not tried it. Make sure you carefully leak test this solution. Unfortunately, you can’t sell the bottle back when leaving Norway.
  • You can build a short hose with a Norwegian fitting on one end and a fitting for non-Norwegian bottles on the other, purchase a Norwegian bottle and use the hose to decant from the Norwegian bottle to the foreign bottle. This is a slow but, apparently, not a dangerous operation. (Note that we have never tried it and will not take any responsibility for injury to those who do!)
  • You can modify the boat’s system with a Norwegian regulator to use Norwegian bottles. Note that in Norway it seems common for the bottle attachment and regulator to be one unit, rather than separate and connected by a flexible hose as is common in North America. 


Butane (Campingaz®) is available in Norway only in small disposable canisters for camp cookers, grills, etc. We have heard that an adaptor to convert Campingaz® appliances to propane can be sourced in the UK from most Calor distributors but we highly recommend you discuss this with someone more knowledgeable on the subject than us. It may be best to carry enough butane to last the time you will be in Norway.


Paraffin used to be readily available on the Norwegian coast but is now harder to source after heating of homes with mineral oil was banned in 2020. Paraffin comes in varying degrees of refinement at extremely variable prices:

  • Paraffin used for domestic heating appliances may be available from pumps at some petrol stations in larger cities, and from Bunker Oil outlets along the coast—bring your own cans. This paraffin has a slightly pungent odour and is the cheapest option (other than jetfuel). 
  • Fritidsparafin has had some of the smellier substances removed and is available from petrol stations and chandleries in 2.5- or 4-litre jugs. 
  • Lampeparafin/Lampeolje has a waxing substance added and is primarily intended for wick-burning appliances. It will work in your burner but at the risk of premature clogging of the nozzle. It is expensive and usually only sold in 1-litre bottles. 
  • Jetfuel is available in Longyearbyen and on the mainland if you can get some from the owner of a light sport aircraft. It is cheap and will work in your burner. The smell is, however, rather off-putting. 

Methylated Spirits

In Norway, methylated spirits (denatured alcohol) is sold under the name rødsprit or, for a slightly less smelly alternative, as Fin Fyr. Although available all around the coast, dealers are subject to strict legislation concerning its storage, making it hard to source in some locations. In some towns (e.g. Bergen) it is most easily found in 1-litre bottles in shops selling paint. If you are doing all your cooking on methylated spirits it would be wise to stock up at a supplier offering 2.5- or 5-litre containers when you can find these.