Boaters urged to combat carbon monoxide

Carbon monoxide warning  The owner of the Vasquez vessel was poisoned by carbon monoxide emitted from the vessel’s inboard petrol engine

Boaters are being advised to fit carbon monoxide (CO) detectors to their vessels following an investigation into a fatal poisoning.

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch’s (MAIB) report into the death of the owner of the 7.75m motor cruiser Vasquez stated the boater had fallen unconscious after being overcome by CO emitted from the vessel’s inboard petrol engine.

The report concluded 72-year-old Ray Milton died in November last year because, without a CO detector/alarm being fitted to his boat, he was unaware that CO from his boat’s engine exhaust was entering the cockpit and cabin area.

The CO was found to have originated from the rubber bellows of the wet-exhaust system of the engine that was not only leaking exhaust fumes but also water.

The boat’s engine had not been regularly serviced and evidence revealed that the exhaust system of the engine had been modified during the boat’s life.

The report noted that recreational craft not registered for use on inland waterways are not required to fit a CO detector/alarm.

The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) has issued a warning urging boaters to fit CO alarms that comply with BS EN50291-2:2010.

“Our advice is to get wise, get alarmed and get out,” said Stuart Carruthers, RYA cruising manager.

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