Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas. It is produced when a carbon-based fuel—such as gasoline, propane, charcoal, or oil—burns. Sources on your boat may include engines, gas generators, cooking ranges, space and water heaters.
CO can harm and
even kill you inside
WHY IS IT SO DANGEROUS?
Carbon monoxide (CO) enters your bloodstream through the lungs, blocking the oxygen your body needs. Prolonged exposure to low concentrations or very quick exposure to high concentrations can kill you.
Early symptoms of CO poisoning include irritated eyes, headache, nausea, weakness, and dizziness. These symptoms are often confused with seasickness or intoxication, so those affected may not receive the medical attention they need.
CO can affect you
HOW CAN YOU protect others and yourself?
Know where and how CO may accumulate in and around your boat.
Follow all warnings and instructions for canvas, engine operations, etc.
Maintain fresh air circulation throughout the boat at all times.
Know where your engine and generator exhaust outlets are located and keep everyone away from these areas.
Stay off the back deck and the swim platforms while the engines are running.
Never enter areas under swim platforms where exhaust outlets are located unless the area has been properly ventilated.
Although CO can be present without the smell of exhaust fumes, if exhaust fumes are detected on the boat, take immediate action to ventilate these fumes.
Treat symptoms of seasickness as possible CO poisoning. Get the person into fresh air immediately. Seek medical attention—unless you’re sure it’s not CO.
Install and maintain marine grade approved CO detectors.
Every alarm requires immediate action.
Replace detectors as recommended by the manufacturer.
If CO is suspected, open all hatches, windows and ports to ventilate
Changing course and speed to place boat heading into the wind can improve ventilation.
Maintain your engine in accordance with manufacturers’ recommendations. Engines that are not tuned properly produce more CO.
Get a Vessel Safety Check
CO can make you
sick in seconds.
Even a few breaths
can be fatal.
TRIP CHECKLIST FOR CARBON MONOXIDE
Make sure you know where exhaust outlets are located on your vessel.
Educate all passengers about the symptoms of CO poisoning and where CO may accumulate.
When docked, or rafted with another boat or boats, be aware of exhaust emissions from the other boat(s).
Confirm that water flows from the exhaust outlet when the engines and generator are started.
Listen for any change in exhaust sound, which could indicate an exhaust component failure.
Test the operation of each CO detector by pressing the test button.