Please select your home edition
Edition
Naiad

Is your yacht safe? Marine surveyor sounds Carbon Monoxide alarm

by Sail-World Cruising on 12 Feb 2011
Carbon monoxide alert - Is it installed correctly? Is it actually working? Are there other elements that could make a dangerous situation? Ask your marine surveyor SW
In the wake of Australia's Cyclone Yasi related death of a 23-year-old Queensland man by carbon monoxide poisoning, marine surveyor http://www.marinesurveyor.com/slivka!Paul_Slivka has drawn attention to the danger of death by asphyxiation on board both sailing and power boats.

The man, whose death was one of the only fatalities during Cyclone Yasi, had been sheltering from the cyclone in a shed where he was operating a generator. Slivka points out that there have been cases where fatalities have occurred, or almost occurred where people slept on boats in seemingly innocuous circumstances while breathing lethal quantities of carbon monoxide.

Speaking after the Yasi death, Queensland Ambulance Service Commissioner David Melville said carbon monoxide was a colourless and odourless gas that could sneak up on people and in extreme circumstances cause death.

'Carbon monoxide is highly poisonous as it consumes oxygen out of the blood causing people to potentially drift off to sleep and never wake up. Initial symptoms which people should be aware of include headaches, vomiting and mild nausea,' Mr Melville said.

In one yacht-related case, a man and a woman in a powerboat anchored for the night, and turned on the air conditioning. While all systems seemed in order at the time, a 'Murphy's Law' of several separate circumstances, from some of the equipment on board being installed upside down, to the fact that the woman was coincidentally sleeping against the air intake grill, meant that carbon monoxide was being drawn into the yacht as the couple slept.

An equally bizarre - and fortuitous - circumstance saved the lives of the two. The tank supplying the generator ran out of fuel, and the carbon monoxide ceased to enter the cabin.

Even so, while the man, who woke first, has made a full recovery, the woman is possibly left with paralysis of parts of her body for life.

The case has been written up fully by another marine surveyor, J.G. Merritt, who points out that while in this case the boat was a power boat, sailing boats are not exempt, and the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning in its early stages can resemble sea sickness..

He offers this advice, as lessons from the incident, to marine surveyors: Carbon monoxide is deadly and ignoring seemingly inconsequential and unrelated issues—a rattling generator, unreliable or incorrectly mounted CO detector—along with gaps in engine room bulkheads and poorly mounted air conditioner units can add up to kill. Surveyors would do well to look for issues that could create the potential for CO poisoning as well as informing owners of the proper way to use equipment that can produce CO. One more thing to note: surveyors need to remember that diesel-powered boats are not exempt from this hazard since gas generators may be installed.

To read the full horrifying story of the incident, related in the Boat U.S. Technical Exchange for Professionals magazine, http://www.sail-world.com/index_d.cfm?nid=80197!click_here.

As a yacht owner, request that your own marine surveyor takes any circumstances that could enable carbon monoxide poisoning into consideration when surveying a yacht for you.
........................

Letter from Reader:


Sender: rod waterhouse

Message: We were sailing my 6 month old Beneteau 473 back from Europe in 2004.
I was motor sailing at night between Panama and Galapagos Islands.

Kids were asleep in rear cabins and my wife Kerry asleep in forward cabin.

I was on watch and did a routine check downstairs.

I was horrified to find water over the floor and smoke in cabin..

I yelled and was able to get everyone awake outside and ok before trying to find the problem.

It turned out to be a sheared Muffler at the exhaust outlet.Basically I had been pumping Carbon Monoxide,and water into the boat and so lucky no one was killed.

A brand new Vetus muffler had broken and when questioning a dealer in Equador and stressing how dangerous that situation was he told me he had seen this before on same muffler.

Like car companies the big boat manufacturers should be recalling in such extreme cases.

So be aware that this is a serious and dangerous issue and anyone can be a victim.We were very fortunate to escape unhurt.

........................
PredictWind.com 2014Mariners Museum 660x82Giacomo Yacht Sale

Related Articles

41st Annual Wooden Boat Festival - Overall report
Tall ships and everything in between—North America’s largest wooden boat festival celebrates its 41st year Tall ships, paddleboards, kayaks, tugboats, and everything in between—North America’s largest wooden boat festival celebrates its 41st year on September 8–10, 2017. Demonstrations, presentations, plays, music, dancing, and great food—this is a weekend of fun for all ages
Posted on 17 Aug
Coast Guard, locals launch search after empty, homemade raft found
Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England also activated the Rhode Island Taskforce for assistance. The Coast Guard launched a search for a possible person in the water Saturday after an unmanned, homemade raft was found drifting in Mt. Hope Bay, near the mouth of the Taunton River on the Massachusetts and Rhode Island border. A good Samaritan alerted Coast Guard watchstanders to the empty raft at about 7 a.m.
Posted on 13 Aug
Early-storms one indicator of active Atlantic hurricane season ahead
Today NOAA issued the scheduled update for its 2017 hurricane season outlook. Today NOAA issued the scheduled update for its 2017 hurricane season outlook. Forecasters are now predicting a higher likelihood of an above-normal season, and they increased the predicted number of named storms and major hurricanes. The season has the potential to be extremely active, and could be the most active since 2010.
Posted on 12 Aug
Keep the water out with Zhik’s new Superthermal Hydrobase
The lower arm and leg of the new Superthermal Hydrobase is made from a water-repellent, stretch woven fabric We’ve all done it - and fished a rope out of the water, pushed the rudder down or stepped down the slipway one foot too far and gained that unwanted wet sleeve or leg.
Posted on 9 Aug
Coast Guard searching mid-Atlantic region for 73-year-old sailor
The Coast Guard is searching for an overdue French sailor between North Carolina and New York City Wednesday. The Coast Guard is searching for an overdue French sailor between North Carolina and New York City Wednesday. Watchstanders in the fifth Coast Guard District Command Center in Portsmouth received a report at 7 a.m. that a 73-year-old sailor named Joseph Calland aboard the 39-foot sailboat Nennette is overdue.
Posted on 3 Aug
Int Moth Worlds - Zhik returns to its spiritual home at 2017 Worlds
Zhik is returning to its roots as the official clothing sponsor of the 2017 McDougall McConaghy Moth World Championships Zhik, the innovative sailing apparel specialist, is returning to its roots as the official clothing sponsor of the 2017 McDougall McConaghy Moth World Championships. And, ten years on, the Moths are returning to their spiritual home on Lake Garda. Zhik and the International Moth class are virtually synonymous with each other.
Posted on 20 Jul
Cheeki Rafiki - Douglas Innes to face retrial over manslaughter
Douglas Innes to face retrial over manslaughter The Director of Stormforce Coaching, the company that ran Cheeki Rafiki, is set to face retrial for manslaughter over the deaths of the four crew. They were 700nm from Nova Scotia, returning to Southampton after racing in Antigua when the keel feel off. It is said that previous groundings had weakened the keel bolts....
Posted on 17 Jul
Rytov continues to defend lead at 2017 Melges 20 European Championship
On the eve of final day at Melges 20 European Championship Russia's Igor Rytov & his Russian Bogatyrs remains in command On the eve of the final day at the 2017 Melges 20 European Championship, Russia's Igor Rytov and his Russian Bogatyrs remains in command. Thanks to a very consistent performance thus far, they are inching ever closer to capturing the top European title and trophy.
Posted on 15 Jul
Get better wave forecasts from PredictWind and ECMWF
Predictwind is well-known for accurate wind forecasts but now leads the way with accurate wave forecasts PredictWind is well known for its world leading accurate wind forecasts, but did you know Predictwind also leads the way with accurate wave forecasts?
Posted on 12 Jul
Centennial Transat builds bridge to a flying future
The Queen Mary 2 won its battle with the four 30-meter trimarans, as expected, in upwind conditions for the sailboats The race was timed to mark a hundred years since American troops arrived on the shores of France in WW1, and it also brought together all of the fastest Ultimate trimarans for the first time as the class begins to take flight.
Posted on 7 Jul