DVIDS – News – Detection of deadly carbon monoxide on boats

I thought I had everything I needed on board my pontoon boat to maximize my safety and that of all my passengers until I discovered another item that you might not have considered either until until you read this. To start, I will summarize the standard required and recommended safety equipment that most safety conscious boaters have on all boats under 26 feet in length. They include wearable life jackets suitable for everyone on board, disposable rescue device, functioning navigation lights, visual distress signals, engine cut-off system, sound producing devices (i.e. i.e. horn, watertight whistles), anchor with line, ventilation (to remove gas vapors from the hull), first aid kit, communication devices (i.e. cell phone or VHF-FM marine radio) and a fire extinguisher. The essential item I am now adding to my list of safety equipment is a portable, portable carbon monoxide detector.

Carbon monoxide poisoning is not limited to boats with closed cabins and has been shown to be fatal on open motor boats. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless poisonous gas created by gasoline engines, including on-board generators that can kill you. It displaces oxygen in your blood and deprives vital organs of oxygen. Even though carbon monoxide doesn’t smell, if you smell an exhaust smell, carbon monoxide is present, but you don’t have to smell anything to he kills you. Carbon monoxide poisoning causes symptoms similar to those of dehydration, seasickness or alcohol poisoning. They include dizziness, weakness, nausea, voting, fatigue, seizures, chest pain, confusion, and loss of consciousness.

Wind blowing from the stern or stern of a boat can increase carbon monoxide buildup on board. It is best to operate a boat so that the prevailing winds help dissipate the exhaust fumes. If you drive your boat at idle or at a high bow angle, both can draw exhaust gases back towards your boat, especially if there is a tailwind. This pattern of circular exhaust airflow to your boat is called the break or back-draft effect. Children, the elderly, or immunocompromised people are more susceptible to carbon monoxide poisoning because of this pushback effect.

After a long day of sailing, Andy Free was just nine years old when he passed out and fell overboard from a moored boat. They were leaving for the day and the engine wasn’t even running when it fell overboard. The two older boys in the Free family were found to have high levels of carbon monoxide poisoning, but they survived with medical treatment. The Free family had spent many years enjoying the water and always followed boating safety rules, but they didn’t realize the hidden danger of carbon monoxide poisoning until after the tragic loss of Andy (https://thelittledude.org/).

The family of 7-year-old Afton Taylor also suffered the tragic loss of their son to carbon monoxide poisoning. Afton was a swimmer and had enjoyed the water since he was 6 months old. Afton fell overboard while sitting at the back of the boat as it moved slowly through a no-wake area (https://www.lovelikeafton.com).

Carbon monoxide can also be very dangerous in the water around boats as it can accumulate near the surface of the water, especially on calm days with running engines nearby. Ally Sidloski, a 21-year-old woman, died of carbon monoxide poisoning after jumping into a lake to swim from a boat she had been on all day. Ally was an excellent swimmer and her parents were shocked to learn that she had died in the water as they had never heard of carbon monoxide poisoning associated with boats (https://weplayfor3.com) .

The Triple A’s, as the families are called in honor of Andy, Afton and Ally, work together to raise awareness of the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning while boating. They encourage boaters to use a marine carbon monoxide detector, to seat children in the most forward seats of a boat, to avoid idling and exposure to emissions from other boats, and to maintain a circulation of fresh air at all times. Also, seek immediate medical attention if you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning.

In addition to this list of tips, wearing a life jacket can aid in the recovery and resuscitation of someone affected by carbon monoxide. Please wear a life jacket when boating, floating or swimming around boats, as even a single puff of carbon monoxide can cause you to pass out and drown.

I purchased a portable carbon monoxide detector to add to my boat’s safety equipment. I hope anyone who sails or swims around powerboats will have one too. Share this information with those you know who enjoy boating and playing in the water around boats so we can prevent carbon monoxide deaths and save more lives on our nation’s waterways! For more information on the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning while boating, visit PleaseWearIt.com and https://uscgboating.org/recreational-boaters/carbon-monoxide.php.

Date taken: 09.07.2022
Date posted: 09.07.2022 16:30
Story ID: 428759
Location: WE

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Earnest A. Martinez