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Sep. 19, 2020
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Carbon monoxide claims lives of two boaters

By Pamela A. Keene 
 
In early August, three men boated to moor overnight near Mary Alice Park. The next morning, two of them had died of carbon monoxide poisoning. The third man was still conscious but disoriented. He was taken to a local hospital.
 
“Carbon monoxide is called the silent killer because it is odorless, colorless and tasteless,” said Division Chief Jason Shivers, public information officer with the Forsyth County Fire Department. “It’s important to always have a working carbon monoxide alarm on any vessel with enclosed spaces. If your boat doesn’t have one, they are easily purchased and quickly installed.”
 
Shivers said that boat owners should be especially cautious if they’re modifying their vessels, such as adding heating equipment or other aftermarket changes.
 
“Always refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines when making any modifications,” Shivers said. “In any enclosed space, make sure there is good ventilation. Carbon monoxide is slightly lighter than air and evenly disperses throughout any given space. It can kill within a matter of minutes. Also, always make sure that any exhaust from gas-burning engines or appliances is directed away from your boat or adjacent boats, and always be aware of the prevailing winds when anchored.” 
 
“Remember, the best way to prevent tragedy is to ensure that you have working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and an ABC grade fire extinguisher on your vessel,” Shivers said. “Taking these simple and inexpensive steps can save a life.”

Posted online 8/28/20
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