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and was released. With the help of his son
Eric, Ron tracked down Janie’s location in
another building, and was reunited with
her. She was kept overnight for observation.
And the drifting boat? During his
stay in the hospital, Ron and TowBoatU.S.
made plans through the Lee County Sheriff
by telephone confirming to have Rojan
towed 42 miles home. By nightfall, the
boat was safely secured in its home berth.
Ron and Janie Ressel, now fully recovered, are grateful to be telling their story.
Many boating friends have checked their
carbon monoxide detectors to ensure
they’re operational, replaced the batteries, or bought a new detector. Within a
week the Ressels had a new CO detector
mounted aboard Rojan and were making
plans for more boating excursions while
they celebrated Ron’s 87th birthday.
This article was written by the Ressels’ daughter, Kathryn Ressel Seagle.
How Much CO Is Too Much?
(In Parts Per Million (PPM))
CO CONCENTRATION AT THE SOURCE
Gasoline Engine 10,000 - 100,000 PPM
Diesel Engine 1,000 PPM
Slight headaches within two to three hours.
Frontal headaches within one to two hours.
Dizziness, nausea, and convulsions within 45
minutes. Insensible within two hours.
Headache. Dizziness and nausea within 20
minutes. Death within 30 minutes.
Headache and dizziness within five minutes.
Death within 30 minutes.
Headache and dizziness within one to two
minutes. Death in less than 15 minutes.
Death in less than three minutes.
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Carbon monoxide is a colorless and
odorless gas and can come into your boat
in countless ways. The BoatU.S. Marine
Insurance claims files detail many deaths
from CO poisoning, even on boats that
weren’t running the engine or generator.
Whether wind direction, the “station
wagon effect,” a leaky exhaust fitting, or a
neighboring boat is responsible, the bottom line is, the only way to know it’s there
is if you have a CO detector aboard.
Most gas-powered, or gas generator-equipped boats built after 1998 that have
enclosed quarters have CO detectors factory installed. If your boat has one, great,
make sure it’s properly maintained and
in working condition, they last about five
years. If you don’t have one aboard, purchase and install one.
CO detectors for your boat are quite
different than the detectors you can pick
up for your house, primarily because
of the sensitivity of the units, and how
they’re constructed. Boats are far more
confined than houses, and consequent-
ly need a different level of sensitivity.
Installing a household unit in your boat
will most likely lead to many, many false
alarms. Also, household units simply
aren’t designed for the marine environ-
ment. That’s why you need to buy a
unit that’s approved by Underwriter’s
Laboratories for “marine use”.
CO has about the same weight as
oxygen and it tends to spread evenly
throughout an area, so there’s no height
installation that’s more beneficial than
another. It’s better to avoid placing a unit
next to a window, door, or hatch — any
opening that can let in oxygen and distort
the readings. Sleeping and enclosed areas
are good places for a detector, and they
should be mounted for easy monitoring.
The effects of CO are cumulative.
It can be hours, or even days before CO
levels in your blood stream reach a criti-
cal level. This is true even if the person
breathes fresh air periodically; the CO
remains in the bloodstream. How quickly
the CO builds up depends on the con-
centration of the gas inhaled and the
duration of the exposure. The half-life of
CO is approximately five hours, which
means that it takes five hours for the level
of CO in the blood to drop to half its level
when exposure was terminated.
Purchasing And Installing A Carbon Monoxide Detector
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implementing projects that keep boaters safer, and our
environment protected, and is independently funded
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60 | BoatU.S. Magazine