If you are on a boat, you are exposed to potential danger...
Carbon monoxide enters the bloodstream though the lungs by breathing in this dangerous gas. Exposure in a well ventilated environment is generally not a problem. Brief exposure in a more confined environment can cause sickness and prolonged exposure to higher concentrations can kill you. Since symptoms of carbon monoxide mimic seasickness or alcohol intoxication it is sometimes overlooked as nothing serious and those affected never receive the medical attention they need.
Tip: Maintain fresh air circulation throughout the boat at all times and maintain your vessel to assure peak engine performance. An improperly tuned engine is more likely to produce elevated levels of CO.
To avoid CO you should know the areas of where CO can accumulate such as inadequately ventilated canvas enclosures and engine compartments. If you are tied to a dock be certain exhaust ports aren’t blocked which can force exhaust back into the boat and if you are rafted to another boat be certain exhaust from one boat doesn’t enter the other.
Beware of Carbon Monoxide
- Make sure you know where all exhaust outlets are and they are not blocked
- Confirm that water flows from the exhaust outlet when motors or generators are running
- Educate all passengers about the symptoms of CO poisoning and where CO may accumulate
- Test the operation of each CO detector for proper functioning by pressing the test button
- Open hatches or canvas enclosures if CO accumulation is suspected
- When rafted to another boat be certain that exhaust flows freely into open air
- Avoid swim platforms or swimming around or near a boat when the engine is running
- Periodically examine the exhaust fixtures on your boat to be certain of proper performance
- Always maintain your boat to peak performance to reduce the risk of CO production