Where Would a Boat Produce the Highest Concentration of Carbon Monoxide?

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Known as “Silent Killer,” Carbon monoxide is an undetectable gas that is colorless and odorless in nature. As a result, it is hard to identify if CO gas is leaking. This tasteless yet poisonous gas pairs with the red blood cells of the human body, and these blood cells are unable to carry oxygen properly. The worst thing about carbon monoxide poisoning is that it spreads to the entire body pretty quickly, claiming the life of the victim within an hour.

So, both boat operators and passengers should know about carbon monoxide poisoning. In this context, one should know that boats produce the highest concentration of carbon monoxide near the exhaust outlet and engine of the boat. This carbon monoxide concentration can be dangerous for swimmers and divers passing near the boat.

Why is carbon monoxide dangerous for boats?

Boats can have both inboard and outboard motors these days. In the case of outboard motors, the fumes coming out of boat generators get trapped right below the boat decks. Now, if the deck has any crack, the carbon monoxide will come out, and the passengers can mistakenly breathe this poisonous gas.

In other cases, if someone dives underwater right below the boat platform or swims by the boat, there is a chance that he or she will breathe or swallow a certain amount of carbon monoxide. This can be fatal to his or her life.

Preventive measures for carbon monoxide poisoning in boat

Though it may seem a little scary, a few measures can be followed to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning altogether.


First, you need to ensure that there is an ample amount of airflow inside the boat deck. It is preferable if the wind enters from the front of the boat. This way, the exhaust outlets will not have highly concentrated carbon monoxide fumes as the air will forcefully push out the boat-generated carbon monoxide from the boat.

Hire a spotter on the boat

The spotters generally monitor the activities of children on the boat. They inspect the entire boat before you board the passengers, thereby saving passengers and crew members from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Regular maintenance

You need to monitor the boat engines on a daily basis as we all know that damaged engines emit more harmful gases than properly maintained ones. In case you find a damaged engine, replace it at your earliest. If possible, also install carbon monoxide detectors near the deck of the boat.

What protection can you take as a boat operator to prevent fatal carbon monoxide poisoning?

If there is someone swimming nearby in the same lake or river, you should stay at a distance from him or her. If any passenger of your boat wishes to go to water for swimming, please keep the engine turned off.

Sometimes for repairing purposes, boat operators or maintenance groups need to go underwater and access the base of the boat. In this case, you must turn off the boat engine, and it is preferable if the diver goes underwater after 15 to 30 minutes of turning off the main engine. This way, there will be a lesser chance of carbon monoxide poisoning for the swimmer and diver.

Every year thousands of carbon monoxide poisoning cases are reported. So, everyone should know about carbon monoxide poisoning. We think this article has provided you with a satisfactory answer to the title question.