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Carbon monoxide can be danger while boating

Boaters should be aware of carbon monoxide dangers while boating on Utah's waters.

Carbon monoxide is a potentially deadly gas produced anytime a carbon-based fuel, such as gasoline, propane, charcoal or oil, burns. Carbon monoxide is colorless, odorless, and tasteless and mixes evenly in the air we breath. It enters the bloodstream through the lungs and displaces the oxygen the body needs.

Those on boats are urged not to confuse carbon monoxide poisoning with seasickness, intoxication or heat stress.

If someone on board complains of irritated eyes, headache, nausea, weakness, or dizziness, immediately move the person to fresh air and seek medical attention if necessary.

Sources of carbon monoxide on boats include gasoline engines, generators, cooking ranges, and space and water heaters. Cold and poorly tuned engines produce more carbon monoxide than warm, properly tuned engines.

Boat exhaust leaks are the leading cause of death by carbon monoxide. These leaks can migrate throughout the boat and into enclosed areas. Regular maintenance and proper boat operation can reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Other areas of concern include being on or swimming near the rear decks of houseboats with the generator or engines running. Areas on or near a boat's swim platform are also dangerous.

It is also best to avoid teak surfing, dragging, or being towed within 20 feet of the rear of a slow moving boat. Recent research indicates that high concentrations of carbon monoxide can easily be found within 10 feet immediately behind a slow moving boat.

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