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Old 14-01-2009, 13:01   #1
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Anyone Else Have a Major Problem with Diesel Fumes ?

I get laid low by diesel exhaust. I do not mean that I find the smell unpleasant. I mean I get nauseous, dizzy, and blinding, pounding headaches. Last night at work I had to load furniture into a customers Ford Heavy Duty Diesel pickup, while the motor was running. When I went back inside I had to hold on to the wall to keep from falling down. I felt sick all last night and still feel some effect from it today. So, I guess that means that a diesel engine on a boat is just not going to work for me. That greatly limits my options in boat designs. I have no problems with gas, so I will probably move my boat investigations from trawlers to gas cruisers.
I was curious if others here, or their family members, have had trouble dealing with diesel fumes onboard?
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Old 15-01-2009, 11:07   #2
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I have never known anyone with a reaction as severe as yours, but certainly engine exhaust in general tends to make many people more susceptable to seasickness.

I could be snarky and suggest a sailboat....
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Old 15-01-2009, 11:13   #3
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It's possible you've developed a sensitivity to CO or the particulates in the diesel exhaust. I've encountered crew members on various ships who've become sensitized to diesel as well as other solvents, thinners, paints etc. I even had a cook who became sensitive to white flour and it prematurely ended his career and he was one of the most talented bakers I've ever met. The nausia and light headedness is likely an effect of carbon monixide in the exhaust. Boats might not present as much of a problem unless you're stern to the wind and it's blowing into the boat. I know some boat designs are notorious for exhaust fumes in the boat and you might want to check out the ones that you're most interested in to see if they're affected. A flybridge model might be the answer for you and you won't have to give up dreams of a diesel boat.
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Old 15-01-2009, 11:15   #4
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Only time I have been seasick is after working on a diesel fuel problem in a seaway. The fumes from the fuel, not the exhaust. But I find diesel exhaust very noxious. I remember one time a furniture truck parked under my apartment window. I was on the 5th floor and still couldn't stand it. I had to ask the driver to shut down while he was delivering.

Never had a problem with exhaust on a boat though.
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Old 15-01-2009, 11:24   #5
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The newer tier two diesels that are controlled by computers are super clean burning. When they are warmed up, you don't get that typical diesel smell. This might help with your sensitivity if you have that choice for your boat. I have no idea if Yanmar or Volvo makes them. Cummins does.
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Old 15-01-2009, 11:38   #6
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CO

This really seems like a CO issue. You might want to get a portable CO detector and check for fumes.

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Old 15-01-2009, 14:45   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jackdale View Post
This really seems like a CO issue. You might want to get a portable CO detector and check for fumes.

Jack

I agree. "nauseous, dizzy, and blinding, pounding headaches. Last night at work ... When I went back inside I had to hold on to the wall to keep from falling down."

Those are *classic* symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning.

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Old 15-01-2009, 17:45   #8
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Just cause you got diesel eng's in ya boat, doesn't mean ya gonna be suckin fumes like unloadin a diesel truck. In the truck ya gotta go through the exhaust fumes to get in and outta the bed. The boat is much more ventilated, unless your down in the eng compartment while the motors are runnin.

Cheers

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Old 15-01-2009, 18:14   #9
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This is not a new problem, I have always had problems with, for example, being stuck behind an old bus at a traffic light. But this last episode made me wonder why I was even thinking about trawlers. As knottybuoyz mentioned, I get the same reaction to solvents, some inks, new vinyl, etc. Just something I have to live with. Luckily I have no problem with gasoline fumes. GreatKetch, not snarky at all. I am thinking that a PDQ 36 Capella with twin gas outboards and an easily handled rig could be just right for us. I have not sailed in 25 years, but a flat sailing cat does not seem too scary. I had just gotten caught up in thinking about trawlers, as slow and steady suits me fine these days. Thanks to all for the replies. Bill
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Old 21-11-2010, 16:55   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill E View Post
I get laid low by diesel exhaust. I do not mean that I find the smell unpleasant. I mean I get nauseous, dizzy, and blinding, pounding headaches. Last night at work I had to load furniture into a customers Ford Heavy Duty Diesel pickup, while the motor was running. When I went back inside I had to hold on to the wall to keep from falling down. I felt sick all last night and still feel some effect from it today. So, I guess that means that a diesel engine on a boat is just not going to work for me. That greatly limits my options in boat designs. I have no problems with gas, so I will probably move my boat investigations from trawlers to gas cruisers.
I was curious if others here, or their family members, have had trouble dealing with diesel fumes onboard?
Back in the 80s, I liked going out on the Dream Weaver with ex-husband Ed but detested the diesel fumes. I called the National Cancer Society, concerned not just about the smell, but about particles getting into my lungs. They recommended that I wear a particle mask, the kind worn by painters. This took care of the particles. To counteract the fumes, I dabbed cologne on a piece of kleenex and tucked it behind the mask. It worked! I notice that people on passing boats looked at me funny, but I looked funny right back at them.
My ex-husband succumbed to Parkinson's disease in the early 2000s, I hope not because of exposure to the fumes.
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Old 21-11-2010, 20:43   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill E View Post
I get laid low by diesel exhaust. I do not mean that I find the smell unpleasant. I mean I get nauseous, dizzy, and blinding, pounding headaches. Last night at work I had to load furniture into a customers Ford Heavy Duty Diesel pickup, while the motor was running. When I went back inside I had to hold on to the wall to keep from falling down. I felt sick all last night and still feel some effect from it today. So, I guess that means that a diesel engine on a boat is just not going to work for me. That greatly limits my options in boat designs. I have no problems with gas, so I will probably move my boat investigations from trawlers to gas cruisers.
I was curious if others here, or their family members, have had trouble dealing with diesel fumes onboard?
Back in the 80s, I liked going out on the Dream Weaver with ex-husband Ed but detested the diesel fumes. I called the National Cancer Society, concerned not just about the smell, but also about particles getting into my lungs. They recommended that I wear a particle mask, the kind worn by painters. This took care of the particles. To counteract the fumes, I dabbed cologne on a piece of kleenex and tucked it behind the mask. It worked! I notice that people on passing boats looked at me funny, but I looked funny right back at them.
My ex-husband succumbed to Parkinson's disease in the early 2000s, I hope not because of exposure to the fumes.
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Old 21-11-2010, 22:06   #12
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A good dose of Valvoline 2 stroke fumes used to do the same to me. I can smell a jet ski or IRB before I hear them. Even 4 stroke petrol engines seem to give me a dose of the same. Regardless, before I adjusted to seasickness, I usually held back on the technicolour yawns till the boss lite a smoke. Maybe it is something to do with being a chef and having sensitive taste as strong odours of any sort will often exacerbate my motion sickness and causing very similar symptoms like you describe. Strong perfume (even on land) and citronella oil are also high on the bad list.

Some trawlers I have worked on gave out the odd dose of diesel fumes. However, the exhausts are usually up high or down low, so the effects are minimal. Likewise, even though the exhaust on my sailing yacht is under the helm, it does not create any real problems. Mostly this is because of the breeze you get on the ocean, which quickly wisps the fumes away. This makes the experience a lot more pleasant than being stuck behind a bus exhaust on my push bike in hot weather at traffic lights; something I also find very objectionable!

Oh, if it makes you feel better you should probably eventually adjust to the effect of the fumes. Nowadays, I can be bellow getting rolled about in a hot greasy engine room and still hold dinner down.
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Old 22-11-2010, 11:48   #13
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I have to agree with statements above, this is most likely not the Diesel itself, but rather carbon monoxide.

According to the CDC:

CDC - Carbon Monoxide Poisoning - Fact Sheet

"The most common symptoms of CO poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion. High levels of CO inhalation can cause loss of consciousness and death."

"Red blood cells pick up CO quicker than they pick up oxygen. If there is a lot of CO in the air, the body may replace oxygen in blood with CO. This blocks oxygen from getting into the body, which can damage tissues and result in death."

"Certain groups — unborn babies, infants, and people with chronic heart disease, anemia, or respiratory problems — are more susceptible to its effects. "


The symptoms sound like are coming on very quickly. Is there a chance that you're actually exposing yourself to low levels of CO somewhere in your home/work? If this is the case, then it would not take much to elevate the CO levels high enough to lead to such drastic symptoms as a result of limited exposure.



I'm not a doctor, but maybe you might want to speak with one.
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Old 22-11-2010, 11:59   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill E View Post
I get laid low by diesel exhaust. I do not mean that I find the smell unpleasant. I mean I get nauseous, dizzy, and blinding, pounding headaches. Last night at work I had to load furniture into a customers Ford Heavy Duty Diesel pickup, while the motor was running. When I went back inside I had to hold on to the wall to keep from falling down. I felt sick all last night and still feel some effect from it today. So, I guess that means that a diesel engine on a boat is just not going to work for me. That greatly limits my options in boat designs. I have no problems with gas, so I will probably move my boat investigations from trawlers to gas cruisers.
I was curious if others here, or their family members, have had trouble dealing with diesel fumes onboard?
i do WHEN THERE IS A LEAK in the exhaust system anywhere. normally i can almost tolerate running a diesel in a sailboat. when there is not enough ventilation and/or leaky system, i am done. yes your symptoms are co poisoning. yes is cumulative-- will not improve much. also beware of exhaust of generator. you may think is ok-- but it does come inside-- so if you feel dizzy with genny running-- GET AIR. same with diesel fumes.
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Old 14-12-2010, 12:00   #15
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Diesel fumes + CO is a real problem on trawlers

I just got back from a month in the Caribbean when I helped deliver a Fleming 65 from Florida to Antigua. This is a 4 year old boat with top of the line electronic controlled modern diesels. Flemings are also famous for the way the firm constantly improves the boats over the years.

The crew included 4 people, all of us with extensive offshore experience on sail, power, gas, and diesel.

Like nearly all modern boats, the big flaw with the yacht is the total lack of dorade vents: all ventilation provided only by hatches, ports, and A/C.

We had heavy seas and rain and cool weather, hence all hatches and ports had to be closed, and the cool of A/C (or obnoxious humidity of reverse cycle heat) was not desired.

The result was the same symptoms by the entire crew. The smell of diesel, combined with CO, was a real big problem.

Gasoline really is a lot better when it comes to fumes!! But not for CO.

For sure, good all weather ventilation (dorade boxes or similar) is both essential and far too rare on yachts built in the last few decades.

For sure, the "station wagon effect" from fat transoms, cockpits, and wide aft ends to superstructure makes diesel fumes and CO a problem with **most** boats.

Being seasick, or just feeling sick, is not at all pleasant, and seems to be THE biggest reason people give up their dreams of a cruising lifestyle.
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