Basics of Carbon
Monoxide Poisoning and Boating back
Study Provokes Stern Warning - In nine out of 10 express cruisers evaluated during normal operating conditions in an interagency survey by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the U.S. Coast Guard, the “Station Wagon” effect was found to generate hazardous concentrations of CO in areas where passengers congregate. Read More
Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless gas that is produced when
any carbon based fuel is burned. As a result of CO concentrations in the
air, early symptoms include drowsiness, headaches, nausea, dizziness,
irritated eyes and weakness. These early symptoms are often confused with
sea sickness, but with extremely high concentrations or prolonged
durations of exposure the result can be death.
Sources: On a boat there are numerous sources of CO, such as a gasoline
engine, gasoline generator, propane, and charcoal. These are fuels that we
depend on to get us to and from our destination, keep us cool, provide
electricity, and heat or cool our food.
Dangerous levels of CO
can be found in voids below the waterline on boats. Turn off
generators and engines while your boat is not moving and while
swimmers are in the water.
Courtesy of the National
Safe Boating Council.
CO becomes dangerous when it collects within and around a boat. CO can
enter a cabin of a boat from different sources including: hot water
heaters, galley stoves, improper ventilation while in motion (the “station
wagon effect”), and exhaust leaks in your boat as well as from moored
boats nearby. CO can collect in areas around a boat such as: near the swim
platform, which is generally found close to the engine exhaust, and areas
where boat overhangs can create pockets of air.
A study performed on
Lake Powell, shows exhaust accumulation around the stern of a ski
boat. This boat was not at idle, but traveling 11 mph. CO can
accumulate in open air. Be aware of where passengers are located
while riding in your boat.
Courtesy of Dr. Robert