Some final thoughts on the dangers of carbon monoxide

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 19, 2004

Special to the News-Herald

Over the course of the last few weeks I have looked at carbon monoxide and the problems it can present recreational boaters. This week we conclude the discussion by looking at what you can do, and what a qualified marine technician can do to make your boat as safe as possible. As in the last few weeks the U.S. Coast Guard’s Boating Safety Circular Number 84 provided the recommendations.

How should you approach maintenance issues to lessen the possibility that your vessel with have a carbon monoxide problem? I recommend a two-pronged attack focused on monthly maintenance you, the owner/operator does him or her self, and an annual maintenance effort that you should hire a professional to accomplish.

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Let’s start with items you can do. Most of these are common sense when you stop and think about it.

Item #1: Take a look at the exhaust clamps and ask yourself are they in place, secure and not showing signs of cracking.

Item #2: Look at the exhaust hoses and exhaust lines. Are they cracked, burned or showing signs of wear?

Item #3: Also with the exhaust lines, are they free from kinks? Think of what happens with your vacuum when you have a kink? Now picture the same with engine exhaust.

Item #4: Does your exhaust system show any signs of leakage? According to the Coast Guard Boating Circular this could include signs of

&uot;rust and/or black streaking, water leaks, or corroded or cracked fittings.&uot;

These are the easy things that you can do on a monthly basis. Now what about the more advanced maintenance, which should be accomplished annually by a trained professional? Think of the following, again according to the Coast Guard Boating Circular:

A. Replace exhaust hoses if cracking, charring or deterioration is found.

B. Ensure that the technician properly tunes your engines and generators.

C. Have the technician inspect each water pump impeller and water pump housing. Replace if worn. Make sure cooling systems are in working condition.

D. Inspect all the metallic exhaust components for cracking, rusting, leaking or loosening. Check the cylinder head gasket, exhaust manifold, water injection elbow, and the threaded adapter nipple between the manifold and the elbow.

So readers here are a few suggestions to help combat carbon monoxide.

Until next week….Boat Safe….and Boat Smart!