Chapter 8: Operator Responsibility

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning: Prevention

Minimizing exposure to carbon monoxide and keeping both oneself and passengers safe is the best way to prevent Carbon Monoxide poisoning.

Always keep air flowing through the vessel. This natural ventilation is the first and best precaution in minimizing any carbon monoxide buildup. Keep all front-facing hatches open, even in bad weather, so fresh air can circulate through the cabin. Try to run the boat so that prevailing winds help clear away any buildup.

Have someone, preferably an adult, be a lookout for anyone who is swimming or boating near the vessel, especially if idle, so one can take measures to ensure safety. Never swim near any platforms where carbon monoxide can accumulate.

Know the early signs of carbon monoxide poisoning and be on the lookout for these signs. Do not confuse carbon monoxide poisoning with heat stress, intoxication, or seasickness. If a person has irritated eyes, a headache, nausea, weakness, or dizziness get them to fresh air immediately and then try to determine the cause. Inform friends and family about the dangers of carbon monoxide and get them familiar with the early warning signs of CO poisoning.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention

When in doubt, seek medical attention just to be safe.

One should install a marine-rated carbon monoxide detector in any area at risk of accumulation on a boat. Regularly check to verify detectors are all working properly and if one hears one go off, act accordingly with immediacy. If the vessel has a rear-vented generator exhaust, check with the boat's manufacturer to see if there is a recall. If not, try and reroute the exhaust to a safer area.

Regular Boat Maintenance

Get regular engine and exhaust maintenance to be performed by licensed technicians.