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Thursday, May 22, 2014
Houseboat engines that are powered by gasoline, including generators on board, produce a deadly gas know as carbon monoxide (CO). It's a odourless, tasteless, colourless gas that could kill people as well as pets that breathe too much of it.
How Carbon Monoxide (CO) Can Accumulate in a Boat
Houseboats sometimes have generators that vent towards the rear side of the boat. This presents hazard of carbon monoxide poisoning to individuals on the rear swim deck or water platform. On bigger houseboats, carbon monoxide accumulates above the water that's near the water platform. Carbon monoxide that builds up in the air space near the swim deck or beneath the stern deck could kill people and pets in less than a minute.
Idling on the water or running at a slow pace could cause carbon monoxide to gather in the boat's aft deck, cockpit, bridge, cockpit, or in an open area. Wind coming from the aft part of the vessel can increase the buildup.
The Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Dizziness, headache, nausea, chest pain, weakness, confusion, and vomiting are the most common signs of carbon monoxide poisoning. A person will most likely die if he inhales a high amount of carbon monoxide. Such poisoning can also cause one to pass out and fall into the water and then drown. An intoxicated or sleeping individual could die from this before he experiences signs and symptoms.
How to Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning on Boats
* Install a working, marine-appropriate CO detector inside the vessel. This will alert people on board when risky levels of the fatal gas accumulate inside the cabin.
* Properly install and maintain all of the boat's appliances and engines that make use of fuel.
* Educate everyone on board about the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning.
* Do not play or swim in or near areas where the boat's engines vent their exhaust.
* Watch kids closely when as they play or swim on the water platforms or swim decks.
* Never block exhaust outlets of the boat. Otherwise, carbon monoxide can build up in the cockpit and cabin, even when the doors, windows, potholes, and hatches are closed.
*Beach, anchor, or dock at least 20 feet away from the nearest vessel that's running an engine or a generator. Exhaust from a nearby houseboat could send carbon monoxide into your houseboat's cabin and cockpit.
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