How can someone be exposed to carbon monoxide while boating?

It is possible for someone to suffer carbon monoxide poisoning while on board vessels that are poorly ventilated, houseboats, or boats where an overhead canopy is affixed. When the air moves around the boat and creates a low pressure area just behind the wide flat transom, carbon monoxide will accumulate there. The carbon monoxide emissions from the exhaust pipes will enter the low-pressure area and flow back into the cockpit and cabin.   

Teak surfing

California law forbids operating the motor or generator of a vessel while someone is TEAK SURFING, platform dragging or bodysurfing behind the vessel. These activities involve holding onto the swim platform or the transom of the vessel while it is underway and can cause carbon monoxide poisoning. It is illegal to TEAK SURF in the State of California.

You must not operate the vessel’s motor or generator if someone is occupying or holding onto a swim platform, deck, step or ladder, unless they are doing so for a very brief time e.g. helping to dock or cast off the vessel, to board or exit the vessel, or during a law enforcement or rescue activity.

Carbon monoxide poisoning regulations in California

California approved carbon monoxide warning decals for my boat

California approved carbon monoxide warning decals for my boat

California law states that carbon monoxide warning decals be displayed on the transom and helm of all motorboats and PWC sold in the state after May 1st, 2005, regardless of if they are new or used.   The Department of Motor Vehicles will mail the decals and an information leaflet when it sends the vessel registration to you. You can also order the decals through the Division of Boating and Waterways.

California requires that a set of carbon monoxide warning stickers be placed on the transom and helm of all new and used motorized vessels sold in California.