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Virginia Watercraft Owner's Guide

Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless, tasteless gas that can be toxic in small quantities. It is produced by engines, generators, grills, and other equipment commonly used by boaters. Every year people who recreate on and around boats are overcome by the effects of carbon monoxide.

Recreational boaters need to be aware of carbon monoxide poisoning prevention practices such as regular professional boat inspections; the installation and maintenance of carbon dioxide detectors in living spaces; the hazards of "platform dragging"; exhaust leaks from CO sources, specific boat design features of concern (especially houseboats); and the danger of swimming near the stern of the watercraft while generators, engines or other carbon monoxide producing equipment is in operation.