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Carbon Monoxide (CO) comes from any burned carbon based fuel (gas, oil, propane, charcoal etc.) so it can come from operating engines, gas generators fuel powered cooking appliances, heaters, etc. It is invisible, odourless and tasteless and, like air, it spreads evenly throughout an enclosed space. CO can cut off the oxygen supply to your body and cause death in minutes. Headaches, fatigue and nausea are typical symptoms so don’t just assume you may be a bit sea sick or have a touch of the flu.

Protect yourself and others from CO poisoning:

  • A tail wind can easily carry CO back on board so idle you engine in well ventilated areas.
  • Heat or cook in a cabin that is well ventilated.
  • Use only marine certified appliances or fuel burning engines and, again, make sure the area is well ventilated.
  • Use a marine grade CO detector and check the batteries regularly. Most CO detectors have a life expectancy of 6-10 years. Se manufacturer’s label.

CO can build up when:

  • You are tied up to a sea wall.
  • Two or more vessels are tied up to each other.
  • Your bow is riding high.
  • The engine or fuel burning appliance is running when the boat is not moving.

A warning to swimmers who can breathe in CO, be overcome and drown in minutes: Avoid areas of high risk like swim platforms and the space in between pontoons when any engine or gas generator is running.

Carbon Monoxide