FACTS ABOUT CARBON MONOXIDE
Carbon monoxide is a potentially deadly gas produced any time a carbon-based fuel, such as gasoline, propane, charcoal, or oil, burns. Sources on your boat include gasoline engines, generators, cooking ranges, and space and water heaters. Cold or poorly tuned engines produce more carbon monoxide than warm, properly tuned engines.
Carbon monoxide is colorless, odorless, and tasteless, and it mixes evenly with the air. It enters your bloodstream through the lungs and displaces the oxygen your body needs. Early symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning—irritated eyes, headache, nausea, weakness and dizziness—are often confused with seasickness or intoxication. Prolonged exposure to low concentrations or very short exposure to high concentrations can lead to death.
Each year, boaters are injured or killed by carbon monoxide. Most incidents occur on older boats and within the cabin or other enclosed areas. Exhaust leaks, the leading cause of death by carbon monoxide, can allow carbon monoxide to migrate throughout the boat and into enclosed areas. New areas of concern are the rear deck near the swim platformlow platform installed at the transom for ease of boarding. with the generator or engines running, and teak surfing or dragging behind a slow-moving boat. Regular maintenance and proper boat operation can reduce the risk of injury from carbon monoxide.