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Carbon monoxide poisoning dangers while boating

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

The best way to protect yourself and others from carbon monoxide poisoning on your boat is:

  • Run the engine at idle only in well ventilated areas;
  • Heat the cabin, or do the cooking only 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

Be aware that CO can build up when:

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

Carbon monoxide

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

Symptoms and treatment of carbon monoxide poisoning

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