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Potential source and how to protect yourself from carbon monoxide gas on your boat

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colourless, odourless toxic gas which can be fatal.

Potential sources of carbon monoxide gas on your boat:

  • When two vessels are tied to each other;
  • When you are docked alongside a seawall;
  • When your load causes the bow to ride high;
  • When a fuel-burning device or the engine is running while your vessel is idling;
  • When there are swimmers between the pontoons of your boat.

Also, on larger boats such as houseboats, vents can cause CO build up along the water near the rear swim deck or water platform.

Carbon monoxide

How to protect yourself and others from carbon monoxide poisoning on your boat:

  • Only run the engine at idle in well ventilated areas;
  • Only heat the cabin, or do the cooking when there is proper ventilation;
  • Make sure extensions and cabin areas, including canvas awnings, are well ventilated;
  • Only use motors or fuel-burning devices that are certified or designed for maritime use, and make sure that they are used only in well ventilated areas;
  • Install a carbon monoxide detector designed for boats and check the batteries before every departure.

Teak Surfing

If a person is suspected of having carbon monoxide poisoning, what action should be taken?


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