How to protect you and your family from carbon monoxide poisoning on a boat

Published: Sep. 16, 2020 at 9:08 PM CDT
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“You just need to be aware,” said Pam Price.

Pam Price is the owner of Fellows Lake Marina in Greene County, where people can rent slips for their motorized boats.

“People just come out and just boat around the lake and enjoy it,” said Price.

And while she says she doesn’t know anyone personally who has suffered from carbon monoxide poisoning from a boat, she does know it can happen. Sometimes it even results in death.

“With carbon monoxide a lot of the symptoms are, I am tired and have been on the lake all day,” said Price.

Springfield Fire Chief David Pennington says symptoms also include nausea, becoming dizzy, and feeling weak.

“Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas, you can’t smell it, you can’t taste it. It binds with the hemoglobin within your blood and prevents oxygen, the red blood cells need, you are suffocating from the inside out,” said Chief Pennington.

That’s why both Chief Pennington and Price strongly encourage having safety measures in place to keep you and your family safe out on the lake.

“Anything that is burning gas can produce carbon monoxide so it’s very important that we ensure they are properly installed and properly maintained and running as efficiently as possible,” said Chief Pennington.

“Don’t leave the boat running at idle speed,” said Price.

“Anything that could make you dizzy or short of balance on a boat could be problematic and you could fall into the water and have a problem with drowning, so obviously I will remind people to wear their life jackets anytime they are on a boat or about to go on the water as a precaution,” said Pennington.

Chief Pennington also recommends making sure the boat has a properly operating carbon monoxide detector in which you can purchase at a local hardware store.

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