January 2010

Cause for alarm

Don’t head out without a CO detector

The other day, another squadron member and I were about three miles from shore in my boat when an alarm began sounding from somewhere on board.

I stopped the boat to determine where the sound was coming from, but the alarm stopped before I could find it.

After a bit of head-scratching, we continued on our way. Within minutes, the alarm started back up, and I immediately stopped the boat.

Pretty sure the sound wasn’t coming from the flybridge, I decided to check the cabin. As soon as I went below, I realized we were hearing the carbon monoxide detector alarm.

Here’s what happened: When we left the dock, I didn’t open any hatches, and through the station wagon effect, the boat’s forward motion drew exhaust into the cabin, where it collected.

Rather than turn off the unit, I opened a forward hatch and let the clean air moving through the boat silence the alarm.

You wouldn’t consider not having detectors at home, so why forgo them on your boat?

Get Knots, Bends and Hitches for Mariners Today!

The station wagon effect

The station wagon effect

Engine exhaust can be blown into a boat that’s running ahead of the wind. The boat’s forward motion creates a backdraft that pulls exhaust from the stern into the cockpit or cabin.

If exhaust is detected, open windshields and portholes to create a draft so the fumes can escape. Introduce fresh air by making turns or zigzagging across the course.

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