Most boaters are aware of the dangers of speeding, or operating a boat under the influence of alcohol, as well as other types of boating safety dangers; however, very few will appreciate the dangers from another silent killer: Carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide is a silent, yet deadly killer. It is an odorless, colorless gas that can kill a person within a few seconds without him even being aware of it. That’s what makes it so dangerous.
In a boat, you may be in danger of carbon monoxide fumes from your generator or engine. This summer season as more and more Indiana residents go out onto the water to enjoy a few hours, it’s important to ensure that you and your passengers are completely safe from the dangers of carbon monoxide fumes.
The first step is awareness. Learn about how carbon monoxide fumes can be generated on your boat. Learn of all the danger areas, including your generator exhaust outlets. You as the boat operator and all your passengers must avoid these areas.
Ensure that there is fresh air circulating inside the boat at all times. Prevent accumulation of dangerous carbon monoxide fumes. Use exhaust blowers to prevent accumulation of fumes.
Don’t hang out near the back deck when engines are running. Remember that carbon monoxide is an odorless gas, but exhaust fumes do have an odor. If you can smell exhaust fumes, you can be sure that carbon monoxide fumes are also present in the air.
Get a carbon monoxide alarm installed in your boat. Get an alarm from a reputed manufacturer, and replace when it is damaged. An alarm can alert you to fumes present in the local environment. Take action when there is an alert, and evacuate that area immediately.
If anyone in your boat shows symptoms of sea sickness or alcohol intoxication, act immediately. The symptoms include weakness, dizziness, irritability, or nausea. Very often, these symptoms are mistaken for seasickness. Get the person out into the fresh air, and immediately get emergency medical attention. Remember, every second may be vital. Even a few seconds of exposure to high concentrations of carbon monoxide fumes can be fatal.
Never assume that you are safe from carbon monoxide poisoning when you are anchored. Even if your engine is not in operation, carbon monoxide fumes can continue to remain at dangerous levels. Remain alert to these threats. Remember that you can get be exposed to carbon monoxide fumes even from another vessel that is docked next to your boat.
Because carbon monoxide is an odorless and colorless gas, it is imperative that the operator or the passengers on the boat be aware of all these risks, and be prepared to act when there are signs of exposure. Talk to your passengers about the dangers of carbon monoxide before you set off sailing.
The Indiana boating accident lawyers at Montross Miller Muller Mendelson & Kennedy, LLP represent persons injured or families of persons killed as a result of boating accidents across Indiana.