Boating and the Dangers of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
A day on the water should be a time for fun and relaxation, but boating accidents can cause serious injuries with life-changing consequences. At Chanfrau & Chanfrau, our attorneys have considerable experience with navigating maritime laws and recovering compensation for boating accident injuries.
When it comes to boating accidents, one area of concern that is often overlooked is carbon monoxide poisoning. Our attorneys would like to take a moment to bring attention to boating and the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning in Daytona Beach, FL, and Palm Coast, FL.
About Carbon Monoxide
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a gas that forms when oil, gasoline, and other fuels burn. Boats often need large amounts of fuel to function. As a result, boats often release large amounts of CO gas. CO gas is both colorless and odorless, allowing it to go unnoticed in many boating situations.
Breathing in carbon monoxide can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning, a condition that can result in illness or even death.
Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Carbon monoxide poisoning has many possible symptoms. Unfortunately, some of these symptoms can be mistaken for seasickness or intoxication, which can lead to delayed or improper treatment.
If the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are ignored, it can lead to death. With this in mind, some symptoms to be aware of when boating include:
- Chest pain
Examples of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Carbon monoxide poisoning can happen when swimming at the rear of a boat where CO gas is released from the exhaust. Sleeping on a boat or becoming intoxicated is another concern as both conditions can make carbon monoxide poisoning go unnoticed until it’s too late.
Carbon monoxide poisoning can be especially dangerous on boats if someone affected by carbon monoxide poisoning loses consciousness and ends up falling into the water.
Causes of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning on Boats
Carbon monoxide poisoning can happen when boating for several reasons. Some possible causes include:
- Generators with rear vents: Houseboats and other large boats tend to have generators with rear vents. This can lead to a buildup of CO gas above the water at the back of the boat where a swim deck may be. Swimming or sitting in this area can quickly lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Backdrafting: Backdrafting is when a gas, air, or liquid moves in reverse. This can happen with CO gas on a boat when ventilation is poor or there’s an opening that draws exhaust into the cabin, cockpit, or another enclosed area. Backdrafting can cause CO gas to build to dangerous levels.
- Idling or traveling slowly: Idling or traveling slowly can cause carbon monoxide to build up around and in the boat. If levels become too high and the gas is inhaled, it can lead to illness or death.
- Product defect: Product defects, like an engine malfunction or manufacturing issue with an exhaust system, could be the source of CO gas buildup that could lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.
Preventing Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
There are many things people can do to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning when on or near boats:
- Place carbon monoxide alarms on your boat
- Do not block outlets for exhaust fumes
- Don’t swim, sit, or play near any boat’s rear-engine exhaust
- Do not anchor or dock too close to other boats
- Perform regular inspections of your boat and its engine
- Keep your boat properly maintained
Seeking Damages for Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Carbon monoxide poisoning can cause permanent brain damage, heart damage, and death. It may be possible to recover compensation for injuries and other damages if the carbon monoxide poisoning was a result of another party’s negligence.
Some parties who may be at fault for carbon monoxide poisoning include:
- The owner of the boat
- The boat operator
- The boat manufacturer
Contact the Attorneys of Chanfrau & Chanfrau
When a boating accident happens, it’s important to speak with an attorney who understands maritime law. If you have been injured in a boating accident and need legal help, please call our Daytona Beach office at (386) 258-7313 to schedule a consultation.