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Old 19-05-2017, 05:24   #1
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Carbon monoxide dangers

Here is a report about a couple who perished tragically last year from CO poisoning. Exhaust fumes from their engines' exhausts entered their boat. It shows how lethal levels can be reached in minutes in the right circumstances.

I had not really appreciated how fast and dangerous this hazard can be. I'm going to be more diligent in using my sensors and a bit more wary in general. I hope this report helps prevent it happening again.

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Old 19-05-2017, 08:34   #2
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Re: Carbon monoxide dangers

Worth having several CO2 alarms positioned in various areas of the boat. At least one per 'zone'.

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Old 19-05-2017, 14:03   #3
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Re: Carbon monoxide dangers

There are good CO alarms, that are also smoke detectors. I believe both smoke and CO are usually lighter than air so they would mount in the same location, makes sense to combine them
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Old 19-05-2017, 14:41   #4
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Re: Carbon monoxide dangers

AS a warning, CO detectors are not water resistant. Locate it away from where it could be splashed by water. Put mine on the aft cabin bulkead. Took a breaking wave on the quarter that soaked the boat and turned the alarm into a permanent canary.
Peter O.
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Old 19-05-2017, 17:17   #5
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Re: Carbon monoxide dangers

As a side note, in the case the OP reported, the engine was petrol (gasoline). They produce way way more CO than diesel engines. Normally the smell of a diesel exhaust is so obnoxious that one does not breathe it for too long.

This is not to take away from the importance of having good CO protection.
All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangereous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. T.E. Lawrence
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Old 22-05-2017, 14:38   #6
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Re: Carbon monoxide dangers

Thanks for sharing the report.


Dangerous levels of Carbon Monoxide were found on that boat, with engine idling, after only 2 minutes 42 seconds! Wow!

An excerpt from the report:

Safety Issues

"1. Occupants of vessels without carbon monoxide alarms will have no warning if the lethal is present in habitable areas. It is essential that carbon monoxide sensors are fitted in areas where carbon monoxide could accumulate and pose a risk to health (such as the accommodation areas of motor cruisers).

2. The use of canopies can lead to the accumulation of carbon monoxide within an enclosed space and potentially increase the risk of poisoning, even when a boat is making way. Ensure that all spaces, including those under a canopy or an awning are always well ventilated.

3.Carbon monoxide is a silent killer and it is important to recognise that the symptoms can be similar to colds, flu or hangovers; headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, tiredness, confusion, stomach pain and shortage of breath are warning signs of its presence. If carbon monoxide poisoning is suspected, it is important to stop the source, get to fresh air and seek medical attention.

4. CO may not always originate from internal sources or even from your own vessel. The occupants of neighbouring boats are at risk when moored near vessels emitting high concentrations of CO."

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