Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a colourless, odourless and tasteless gas.

Carbon monoxide is produced when some fuels – such as LP Gas, diesel, petrol or natural gas – don’t burn properly. These fuels need a lot of air and the right gas supply pressure to burn safely.

CO builds up in confined spaces such as cabins, cockpits or engine bays.

Preventing Carbon Monoxide poisoning

  • Ensure all exhausts and internal hoses are continually maintained and checked
  • Install a carbon monoxide alarm in the engine room of either a petrol or diesel motor and the main cabin
  • Ensure inboard engines exhaust outside the vessel
  • Ensure petrol driven generators are used in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations, are not installed in a confined space and do not have the exhaust system modified in any way.
  • Never use gas range or oven for heating
  • Ensure canvas enclosures are well ventilated
  • Be careful mooring next to a boat that is running a generator or engine

Symptoms of CO poisoning

Symptoms of CO poisoning are similar to over-consumption of alcohol and seasickness.

  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • A dull headache
  • Shortness of breath
  • Confusion
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of consciousness

If CO is taken into the body in high concentrations, you can become unconscious and incapacitated very quickly.

CO poisoning is particularly dangerous for those who are intoxicated or sleeping.

Treatment for CO Poisoning

  • Seek medical attention immediately.
  • Victims should be moved to fresh air away from the source of carbon monoxide