Chapter 7 Review—Safe Boat Operation—Continued
Carbon monoxide can collect within, alongside, or behind a boat in minutes and in a variety of ways.
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.
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 be fatal.
Activities such as teak surfing, dragging, and water skiing within 20 feet of a moving watercraft can be fatal, as the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning is high.
Exhaust from another vessel that is docked, beached, or anchored alongside your boat can emit poisonous carbon monoxide gas into the cabin and cockpit of your boat. Even with properly vented exhaust, your boat should be a minimum of 20 feet from the nearest boat that is running a generator or engine.
Be sure to schedule regular vessel (engine and exhaust system) maintenance and inspections by experienced and trained technicians. Regular maintenance along with proper boat operation can reduce the risk of injury from carbon monoxide.
The best precaution against carbon monoxide poisoning is to keep air flowing through the vessel.
PROPELLER INTERVENTION AND AWARENESS
Since the boat's propeller is located below the waterline and may be difficult to see, it is important that people are aware of it at all times. As a precaution, operators should shut off the engine whenever a person is in the water within close proximity to their vessel.
Safety equipment is available and when used properly can significantly decrease the probability of a propeller strike. A couple of examples of equipment are:
Ladder interlock kill switches