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Old 11-02-2011, 14:31   #1
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Carbon Monoxide

I learned about it while making out in a parked car (in those days, making out was pretty tame) but now I know just what it's like to get CO overload. Fortunately I survived with only a bad headache and ringing in the ears, which I didn't know until years later was my BF's faulty heater. I hear that very red complexion is also an early sign. However, most victims mistake it for the flu and they are reluctant to leave the bed to get fresh air. And there they die. New research says neurological symptoms can appear months, even years later so if you've ever had CO poisoning (or made out in a parked car with the heater running).
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Old 12-02-2011, 00:03   #2
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Its nasty when it sneaks up on you. First time I ever took my girlfriend out sailing, I had them show up for 7am so we could get an early start and spend the entire day at Toronto Island. My GF, my brother and his GF. Anyway, the ladies were bitching about how tired they were for getting up so early on a Saturday, so I said go below and take a nap. Down they went, closing the hatch behind them. This being mid September it was kinda chilly, So I figured they'd hop in the bunks, pull out the blankets and be just fine . What I didn't realize was that they had lit the Coleman Catalytic heater I had below. Anyway, my brother and I were on deck, it was a beautiful sunny day, wind about 17-20 knots. We were close hauled on the port tack in a choppy sea running about 6-7 foot, aiming to clear Gibralter Point and turn in at the Eastern Gap, and I was having a blast. My brother was on deck, beer in hand also enjoying himself. About 45 minutes later, the hatch opened, and Terri came out, red in the face and immediately hit the side rail and started puking. 30 seconds later Maryanne was beside her, also red in the face. That's when I noticed the heater sitting on the cabin floor. Boat fully closed up, and a heater going full blast.

That put paid to the day, we ended up back in harbor about an hour later, the girls being sick all the while. Even my brother, seeing them start to puke, dropped his beer and started heaving too.

I don't think it every dawned on them just how lucky they were. They both thought it was the constant motion of the boat that caused them to be sick. I killed the heater, and tossed it into the locker and padlocked it. Once we got back I took it out and got rid of it.



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Old 12-02-2011, 00:13   #3
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Huge safety risk on boats especially yachts where the occupants during foul weather will want to close themselves in and use a heater. I am guessing by the slated companionway doors and ventilators in my Herreshoff that this is no new problem?
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Old 12-02-2011, 02:04   #4
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Many of the gases that are not compatible with humans are heavier than air so gather nicely in sleeping places, especially on a mono.
Vented gas bottle lockers mean high and low vents. The burnt bottled gas is also lethal to humans, CO2 and CO. A small fan (toilet style) from the bilge to outside will do the trick, and a good idea to arrange the outlet to draw air from the boat using wind over the deck.
Live aboards are at a huge risk but soon learn the do's and dont's.
My lovely prout had gas bottles in the foredeck, and chain locker, that had water drains well above sea level. And a small hinge open window directly above the stove for meal cooking.
Elsewhere I've seen that diaphragm bilge pumps will move air too. If the boat has been closed up for a bit or there's a worry about gas leaks then a bit of right hand exercise will benefit you. Thats what GF's are for isn't it?
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Old 12-02-2011, 08:29   #5
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We have a fire/carbon monoxide all-in-one detector on board...nothing fancy, one that we found at Home Depot...

A woman in Annapolis lost her life taking a shower aboard after a race in the early nineties and the water heater and/or on board heater was churning out carbon monoxide...so sad...
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Old 12-02-2011, 10:10   #6
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A carbon monoxide detector is $30 at the hardware store. No excuse for not having one on a boat if you use any form on fossil fuel for cooking or heating.
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Old 12-02-2011, 10:50   #7
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A carbon monoxide detector is $30 at the hardware store. No excuse for not having one on a boat if you use any form on fossil fuel for cooking or heating.
Those are 120V. Here are some marine grade 12V, among other great items. Marine Technologies Boat Carbon Monoxide Detectors

And I believe now all new boats are required to have CO detectors from the factory.

I use the CO2/propane combo.
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Old 12-02-2011, 11:04   #8
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And I believe now all new boats are required to have CO detectors from the factory.
My boat, built in 2006, came stock with four CO detectors, one in each of the staterooms, and one in the saloon. Smoke detectors were separate.
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Old 12-02-2011, 15:56   #9
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Those are 120V
Not 120V, AA batteries: Amazon.com: Kidde KN-COPP-B-LS Nighthawk Carbon Monoxide Alarm, Battery Operated with Digital Display: Home Improvement
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Old 12-02-2011, 21:11   #10
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Hummm! I didn't realize Amazon was a hardware store.
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Old 12-02-2011, 21:32   #11
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I can't believe how many CO detectors I find with the 12 volt power unplugged or the batteries removed. The explaination I get is that the detector keeps going off and is a nuisance...DUH! They don't believe that it's working correctly!
This is good to remind everyone of the potential dangers of CO.
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Old 12-02-2011, 22:21   #12
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The explaination I get is that the detector keeps going off and is a nuisance
I had the same problem when I first got my detector. Took a week or two to learn how to vent the boat properly when cooking. Good skill to learn. It was a real eye opener to see the CO levels. I highly recommend a detector with a display that shows the current CO level to help learn when you have the proper amount of ventilation.

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Hummm! I didn't realize Amazon was a hardware store.
?????
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Old 12-02-2011, 22:44   #13
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I bought a hardware store CO detector (9 volt battery) and one of my club members really ranted on me that you had to have a marine CO detector. I never found the definitive answer, but it seems that the info I found says that the marine detectors work in more extreme temperatures and have a higher CO threshold so they're not going off all the time. It's still a safe level, just not as stringent as called for by house standards. Mine's never gone off, but I don't have a heater relying on natural draft (Webasto forced air) and the stove is right by the companionway which usually just has a cloth cover over which doesn't seal tightly.

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Old 12-02-2011, 22:49   #14
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A carbon monoxide detector is $30 at the hardware store. No excuse for not having one on a boat if you use any form on fossil fuel for cooking or heating.
!!!!!
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Old 13-02-2011, 13:36   #15
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New research on CO poisoning posted at SoloWomanRV.blogspot.com. I was surprised to learn that neurological symptoms can occur months, even years later--even if CO victim was treated in a hyperbaric chamber. Nasty stuff.
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