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Carbon monoxide poisoning is a boating hazard

As spring temperatures rise, more and more New Yorkers will be heading out on local waterways for enjoyable boating adventures. But there could be hidden danger lurking in the form of deadly carbon monoxide gasses.

The scariest thing about CO poisoning is that this gas can’t be seen, tasted or smelled. These invisible and odorless qualities can allow it to accumulate to dangerous levels before anyone is aware it is present. Below are some important things to know about CO poisoning as a boating hazard.

— The symptoms of CO poisoning mimic the symptoms of intoxication and seasickness.

— When the concentration of the gas is very high, people can sicken and die after only a couple of breaths.

— CO accumulation can occur on boats that are in motion as well as docked.

— If you are using a generator aboard your boat, make sure the exhaust blowers are turned on whenever the generator is working.

— There should always be fresh air circulating through the boat at all times.

— When the engines are on, don’t hang out on or teak surf from the back boat deck.

— Make sure all children, adults and pets are not breathing in the engine’s or generator’s exhaust fumes.

— Don’t occupy the spot under decks or swim platforms where CO can accumulate.

— If you can smell exhaust, there is CO in the air as well, so immediately vent the area.

— Don’t assume that a person is merely drunk or seasick. Make sure they are taken immediately into fresh air and seek medical attention for possible CO toxicity.

— Equip boats with CO alarms and routinely replace the batteries.

If you lost a family member to CO poisoning on a boat, it may be possible to sue the owner or operator for wrongful death and recover financial damages.

Source: U. S. Coast Guard, “Carbon Monoxide,” accessed May 19, 2016

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