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Video Transcript
Rob

What are the dangers of carbon monoxide, and what can people do to prevent from having an issue with carbon monoxide?

Officer McClure

The most important thing, and we’ve seen this in the past where, particularly on ski boats, there will be a teak deck, if you will, on the back. And the operator of the boat will actually tow people that are hanging on with their fingers on the teak deck. Well, that’s where the exhaust is coming up from underneath the water behind the boat. Exactly where the faces are of people that are hanging onto that teak deck.

Or maybe they’re sitting back there, which they shouldn’t be doing to begin with if the boat is running and moving. But if you have a still day, particularly at night, it’s humid, the air’s not moving, then that carbon monoxide from the exhaust gases are going to concentrate into one particular area. And if you happen to be in that area, hopefully you’ll be tuned into it by just the smell of the exhaust itself.

Even though the poisonous part of it, the carbon monoxide element, it’s not going to register that it’s affecting you because it’s tasteless. Because it’s odorless and invisible. And most houseboats have generators. Generators are ported and exhausted out the back, just like most other boats are. Well, when you are beached with the nose of the boat or the bow of the boat on the island, people tend to gather toward the back of the boat. And particularly at night, when the wind lays down, the humidity’s up, that’s the environment that carbon monoxide is probably most dangerous.

Rob

You have an incident related to that?

Officer McClure

Yeah, there was a call that I had responded to where a young lady was sitting on the back of a houseboat. August, it’s hot. The air’s not moving. It’s humid. And she’d been sitting on the swim deck for a long time while the generator was running, where the exhaust was being ported, and decided to go into the water and sit on a floating seat with the rest of her family. Once she got on the seat, she just kind of went to sleep. She became unconscious and went in the water. And before anybody around her realized it, she had drowned. Once her body was recovered, then we realized through the results of her blood that it was saturated with carbon monoxide.

Rob

To me, the take-home message is if you have a boat with an engine, be aware that carbon monoxide is present. Make sure you minimize the risk.

Officer McClure

Turn the motor off if you don’t need it.

Rob

Thank you.