Engine CO fumes alert
CARBON MONOXIDE FUMES can kill in minutes. This is the stark warning from parliamentarians and the Boat Safety Scheme following the deaths from CO poisoning of two people on their moored motor cruiser in Norfolk ( CB, Sept). The Marine Accident Investigation Branch found that exhaust fumes from running the engine could blow back in and fill their boat’s cabin space within three minutes.
Jonathan Shaw, Chief Executive of Policy Connect and a former Minister for Waterways, said: “If you can smell exhaust fumes in the cabin there is an issue that needs your attention. If those are petrol engine fumes, act immediately. At low concentrations over longer periods it can cause long-term health and memory problems. Higher amounts of carbon monoxide can kill in just a few minutes.” Meanwhile, the BSS recommends boaters to: Avoid problems by staying alert to engine fumes – keep them out of the cabin.
Run portable generators ashore away from the boat, never aboard. Don’t run a propulsion engine when moored if the exhaust fumes are blowing back inside, even if your batteries are desperate for a charge. Wait until the wind changes or move to a different mooring. Be a good neighbour and don’t run petrol engines where exhaust fumes could enter a nearby boat cabin. If you’re smelling and breathing in exhaust fumes, stop the engine and get off the boat. Know the symptoms of CO poisoning, and if anyone is indicating they are suffering, get them medical help. If the symptoms are severe, call the emergency services. As a belt & braces defence, install a certified CO alarm ( BS EN 50291-2), test it routinely and never remove the batteries Graham Watts of the Boat Safety Scheme said: “Our records point to the fact that those new to boating may not be so aware of the CO risk as experienced boaters. If you know someone new to boating, why not have a chat about CO and point to the good safety advice on our BSS website at boatsafetyscheme.org/co