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Carbon Monoxide in Boats & Campers: Know the Risks

With summer in full swing in Georgia, many families and friends take to the outdoors to enjoy activities like camping and boating. However, before you embark on that weekend adventure, it’s important to be aware of the risks of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. Being informed of the risks and symptoms of CO poisoning can mean the literal difference between life and death.

According to the CDC, at least 430 Americans die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning, with 50,000 more visiting the emergency room for symptoms of accidental poisoning. Carbon monoxide is known as the “invisible killer” because it’s an odorless, colorless and tasteless poisonous gas. No one is immune from CO poisoning and it can be fatal before you even realize what’s happening.

And, in the majority of cases, CO exposure and subsequent injury is the result of someone else’s carelessness or a defective product.

Carbon monoxide comes from a wide variety of sources, including furnaces, grills, kitchen appliances, hot water heaters, and more. When you’re out enjoying recreational activities, CO can also come from camping stoves, lanterns and the exhaust systems from RVs or boats.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning

Having a good awareness of the symptoms of CO poisoning can help save your own life or the life of someone you love. Following are some important things to know about carbon monoxide poisoning:

  • Typical symptoms of CO poisoning include dizziness, headache, nausea or vomiting, fatigue and confusion. Carbon monoxide affects your blood’s ability to carry oxygen, which can result in loss of consciousness and – if left untreated – death.
  • CO poisoning can actually mimic symptoms of the flu. If you’re camping or boating and start feeling like you’re developing the flu or a cold, get to a doctor immediately. Waiting too long to seek medical attention can be fatal.
  • Using drugs or alcohol can increase the effects of CO poisoning and a victim may not recognize the symptoms until it’s too late.
  • CO poisoning is especially lethal to pregnant women and their fetuses, children and the elderly.

Preventing CO poisoning on RVs and boats

While you may not be able to prevent a defective product from causing injury, you can take safety precautions to ensure the safety of you and your loved ones this summer:

  • Before each outing, inspect your camper or boat’s generator exhaust system to ensure it’s operating correctly, and nothing is blocked.
  • Ensure your vehicles (just like your home) are outfitted with carbon monoxide detectors and test them every time you go out.
  • Be aware of other vehicles parked or docked close by that are using generators, and ensure their exhaust is blowing away from your boat or camper and not into it.
  • Never, ever use a gas generator inside a tent, camper, house, garage, etc. or anywhere without proper ventilation.
  • Never use a gas oven or stove for heating purposes, as it causes a buildup of CO gas.
  • Never use a portable gas camping stove indoors, and never burn charcoal indoors.

The Georgia personal injury lawyers at Harris Lowry Manton LLP understand the extreme risks of carbon monoxide poisoning. From defective products to another’s negligence, we will hold the negligent parties responsible for your injuries and losses. Call us today at 404-961-7650 at our Atlanta office, or in Savannah at 912-651-9967, or fill out our contact form.



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