At approximately 1200 (UTC) on 12 November 2016, the owner of the 7.75m motor cruiser Vasquez fell unconscious after being overcome by carbon monoxide (CO) that had been emitted from failed rubber bellows that formed part of the inboard engine’s wet-exhaust system. Although rescuers came to his aid, it was not possible to save his life. The boat’s engine had not been regularly serviced and there was evidence that the exhaust system of the engine had been modified during the boat’s life.
There still remains a significant task to raise boat owners’ awareness about the dangers of carbon monoxide in recreational boating sector.
Due to the odourless nature of carbon monoxide, the fitting of a detector/alarm remains the only effective warning that the poisonous gas may be present.
It is important to seek professional advice and regularly service a boat’s engine, in accordance with the manufacturer’s guidelines, to ensure it remains reliable and safe to use.