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Carbon monoxide poisoning on boats - it keeps happening

by Des Ryan on 14 Jun 2014
Unexpected dangers SW
Carbon monoxide deaths on boats continue to happen. In Britain, more than a years after their death, the partner of a woman who died with her daughter after falling ill on a boat while sleeping in the Lake District, has been charged with their manslaughter by gross negligence. Another incident involves a death in the open air from carbon monoxide.

Kelly Webster, 36, and Lauren Thornton, 10, of Leyland, Lancashire, were found suffering from breathing difficulties on the boat on Windermere last year. An inquiry found they were killed by generator fumes.

Ms Webster's partner Matthew Eteson, 40, has been charged. A Marine Accident Investigation Branch report found fumes from a detached generator had filled the privately-owned boat on 1 April last year.

Mr Eteson, 40, woke with breathing difficulties and sounded the alarm. He was taken to hospital suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning, but later released.
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The second case was also in Britain. Edward Ide, 21, and Mark Arries, 26, were found dead on board their boat Eshcol in North Yorkshire on the morning of 15 January this year.

An investigation into the deaths of two has concluded that they died from carbon monoxide poisoning after trying to heat their cabin with a gas cooker. The report also found that no carbon monoxide alarm was fitted on their vessel.

It appears that the pair had been cold and wet and had left the grill on in order to warm the sleeping area because the heaters on board did not work.
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One recent case, in July last year, occurred in the United States, in the open air.

22-year-old Lucas Allyn died after boating at Bear Lake in Utah when he was overcome by carbon monoxide. According to the local news outlet, Allyn spent a good part of the day at the rear of a boat — near its exhaust — hoisting swimmers out of the water.

In fact safety officials say carbon monoxide poisoning likely contributed to more drowning deaths over the past decades than imagined.

'It’s a problem people don’t recognize,' Edwin Lyngar, a boating safety educator with the Nevada Department of Wildlife, said Friday. 'People will start feeling nauseous and think they’re sea sick when they actually have mild carbon monoxide poisoning.'

'It happened in the open air. You would think it unbelievable until you think about how the gases recirculate near the back of the boat,' Dr. Robert Baron, a medical adviser for Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, told the newspaper.

Lyngar added that carbon monoxide poisoning while boating 'is far more common than we thought.'
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Email received from reader:

Sender: Bill Farmer

Message: I have a 89 Pearson 33 with a Yanmar 20 diesel engine. While motoring on the Chesapeake Bay last week I noticed a strong smell of exhaust while at the helm. The wind was from fwd to aft and I felt that that should have carried all exhaust away from the boat. I'm thinking that the design of the stern might have created an eddying effect in the air flow.

My main concern is similar to what happened to the guy helping swimmers on & off his platform.
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