Limit carbon monoxide exposure
You see them every day: swimmers holding onto the swim platform chatting with friends onboard, boats anchored close together with air conditioners chugging away, children teak surfing off the swim platform of the family boat. All these situations could become fatal due to their high risk of carbon monoxide exposure and poisoning.
Produced by burning carbon-based fuels, deadly and invisible carbon monoxide gas has no taste or smell.
Carbon monoxide from the exhaust of inboard engines, outboard engines and generators can build up inside and outside boats in areas near exhaust vents, such as the swim platform, making it dangerous to congregate or swim in these areas when the motor or generator is running.
Exhaust from neighboring boats also poses a danger to docked, beached or anchored boats, making them vulnerable to carbon monoxide intrusion in the cabin and cockpit.
Blocked exhaust outlets can cause carbon monoxide to accumulate in the cabin and cockpit area even when hatches, windows, portholes and doors are closed. Avoid anchoring in areas where your boat’s exhaust outlets could become blocked.
Backdrafting, sometimes called the station wagon effect, occurs when a boat operates at a high bow angle, travels under four knots, or has been improperly loaded. This causes carbon monoxide to accumulate inside the cabin, cockpit and bridge even when protective coverings are used and the boat is under way.
People teak surfing off the swim platform or water-skiing 20 feet or closer to the boat will inhale carbon monoxide exhaust, putting them at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
By learning how to avoid carbon monoxide exposure and educating others about the dangers, you can help save lives. –U.S. Coast Guard
Prepare for any crisis
Learn how to handle any emergency while underway by taking our Emergencies Onboard seminar.