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Carbon Monoxidecarbon monoxide poisoning logo

Carbon monoxide (CO) can harm and even kill you inside or outside your boat!

Did you know:

Most important of all, did you know carbon monoxide poisonings are preventable? Every boater should be aware of the risks associated with carbon monoxide - what it is; where it may accumulate; and the symptoms of CO poisoning. To protect yourself, your passengers, and those around you, learn all you can about CO.

Dangers of Carbon Monoxide

The must-know facts about carbon monoxide. If you don't recognize the symptoms of CO poisoning, you may not receive the medical attention you need.

Where CO May Accumulate

You're not just at risk inside a boat. Knowing all the possible places where CO may accumulate could save your life.

How to Protect Others & Yourself

CO poisoning is preventable. Here are specific steps you can take to help prevent carbon monoxide from harming you, your passengers, or fellow boaters.

Helpful Checklists and Maintenance Tips

A checklist for every trip, plus a monthly and annual checklist. They're easy for you to print and use.


The Dangers of Carbon Monoxide

What is Carbon Monoxide?

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, and space and water heaters.

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. They are often confused with seasickness or intoxication, so those affected may not receive the medical attention they need.

Altitude, certain health-related problems, and age will increase the effects of CO. Persons who smoke or are exposed to high concentrations of cigarette smoke, consume alcohol, or have lung disorders or heart problems are particularly susceptible to an increase in the effects from CO. However, anyone can be affected. Another factor to consider is that physical exertion accelerates the rate at which the blood absorbs CO.

Emergency Treatment for CO Poisoning

CO poisoning or toxicity is a life-threatening emergency that requires immediate action. The following is a list of things that should be done if CO poisoning is suspected. Proceed with caution. The victim may be in an area of high CO concentration, which means you or others could in danger from exposure to CO.


Where CO May Accumulate

Carbon monoxide can accumulate anywhere in or around your boat.

How can it accumulate?

inadequately vented canvas enclosure boat pix Inadequately ventilated canvas enclosures.
exhaust gases trapped in enclosed spaces picture Exhaust gas trapped in enclosed places.
blocked exhaust outlets Blocked exhaust outlets.
exhaust from another vessel blowing onto your vessel Another vessel's exhaust.
CO from the boat docked next to you can be just as deadly.
station wagon effect - gases blowing back in over stern "Station wagon effect" or back drafting.
slow sppeds or idling, gases build up and are deadly At slow speeds, while idling, or stopped. Be aware that CO can remain in or around your boat at dangerous levels even if your engine or the other boat's engine is no longer running!



How to Protect Others & Yourself

You're in command of your boating safety. Follow these simple steps to help keep carbon monoxide from poisoning you, your passengers, or those around others.

Helpful Checklists

Print and use these checklists, and do not operate your boat without doing the following:

Each Time You Go On a Boat Trip

Print and use these checklists, and do not operate your boat without doing the following:

Once a Month

Once a Year

Have a qualified marine technician:

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To download a small CHECKLIST to carry with you, Click Here - PDF version