Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Carbon Monoxide Dangers on Boats can Kill

Salt Lake – Utah State Park Boating Rangers warn all boaters to be aware of carbon monoxide dangers while boating on Utah’s waters. Carbon monoxide is a potentially deadly gas produced anytime a carbon-based fuel, such as gasoline, propane, charcoal or oil, burns. Sources of carbon monoxide on boats include gasoline engines, generators, cooking ranges, space heaters and water heaters.

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas, which mixes evenly with the air. Carbon monoxide enters the bloodstream through the lungs and displaces the oxygen your body needs. Do not confuse carbon monoxide poisoning with seasickness, intoxication, heat exhaustion or marine stressors.

“If someone complains of irritated eyes, headache, nausea, weakness or dizziness, move the person to fresh air quickly and seek immediate medical attention,” stated Assistant Boating Program Manager Chris Haller.

Boat exhaust leaks are the leading cause of death by carbon monoxide. Cold and poorly tuned engines produce more carbon monoxide than warm, properly tuned engines. These leaks can migrate throughout the boat and into enclosed areas. Regular maintenance and proper boat operation can reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Other areas of concern include being on or swimming near the rear decks or swim platforms of boats with the generator or engines running. It is dangerous and illegal to teak surf, platform drag, or be towed within 20 feet of the rear of a boat while in a non-standing position. Research indicates that high concentrations of carbon monoxide can be found within 10 feet immediately behind a boat.

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