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Carbon monoxide – a silent killer




(NC)—An invisible, silent and deadly danger to boaters, carbon monoxide (CO) is being linked to an increasing number of boating deaths. CO is a colourless, odourless gas produced during the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels. It cuts off the oxygen supply to the body and can cause death in minutes.



Avoid CO poisoning:

• Don't idle your engine, heat your cabin, or cook, except in well-ventilated areas.

• Be especially careful in areas that have been modified, such as cabin extensions and areas fitted with canvas tops.

• Use a carbon monoxide detector designed for a boat and check the detector's batteries before every trip.

• Boat engines left idling in poorly ventilated areas create dangerous concentrations of CO: a tail wind can carry CO back into the boat.

• CO can build up in boats when: two boats are tied to one another; an improper load distribution causes the bow to ride high; or the boat is stationary and the portable generator is running.

Swimmers take note – CO isn't just a risk to boaters. You can be overcome by the gas in minutes and drown. Areas of risk are underneath swim grids and between the pontoons of houseboats. More information on CO poisoning is available at or call toll-free 1-800-267-6687.

- News Canada

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Bruce Stott
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