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Old 01-29-2015, 12:51 PM   #21
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I had a wired CO detector that didn't work, (can't remember the company, big company, sorry, I'm not on the boat) just squealed when I connected it. I wrote to the customer service people for help replacing it and got no answer. Re-wrote, still no answer. So I did the expected thing, ripped it out, pulled all the wires and bought one with a battery from Home Depot and it works just fine. Marine - rubbish.
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Old 01-30-2015, 11:14 AM   #22
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Ksanders – You’re missing the point.
1. Diesel engine exhaust contains consistent and measurable concentrations of CO. Seems to run in the 1,000-2,000 ppm range. These units were, of course, ugly construction and oil field equipment. They do not emit the same pink, rose scented exhaust that our boats do, but still….

2. The “motor powered cabin vessel” (or something to that effect that the USCG uses as a descriptor to characterize the boats on this forum) have, in my experience and by any objective standard, generally poor interior ventilation (air exchanges per unit time).

3. CO exposure is responsible for about 15,000 ER visits and 500 deaths per year in the US. Been pretty consistent throughout 1999-2010. These numbers exclude structural fires, suicides, etc., etc. See the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report if you want to drill down the data. I don’t believe you’ll find a data level that distinguishes between gasoline, propane, and diesel.
4. CO is not an asphyxiant – it does not do damage by displacing O2 in the atmosphere. It is a true toxic agent, inhibiting the blood's ability to carry O2 to vital organs.

5. The insult (damage) produced by CO exposure is a function of CO concentration and the duration of exposure to that concentration. For example, an acute exposure to CO at the 12-13,000 ppm level will fatal in 1-3 minutes; an exposure to just 400 ppm for 4 hours is expected to be fatal.

6. The UL CO detector set point standard reflects this “dose” relationship.
a. > 400 ppm CO, device must alarm between 4 and 15 minutes
b. > 150 ppm of CO, device must alarm between 10 and 50 minutes.
c. > 70 ppm of CO, device must alarm between 60 and 240 minutes.

I did not intend to tread on the closely held belief by many recreational diesel boaters that the diesel propulsion and fuel systems are as benign as a kiddy pool in the backyard.

I have DC plugs lanyarded to every through-hull. Because I expect an imminent through-hull failure? Getting ready for a transPac? Nope. Just a firm and long held belief that Murphy was an optimist and I’m going to do everything I can to insure the safety and longevity of the boat, my passengers, and myself.

When presented with a toxic source with no (zero) warning properties, semi-confined spaces below, and a relatively inexpensive means of managing that risk (even though it’s low probability), I’ll go with the “good” vice the “proper”. To each his own.
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Old 01-30-2015, 01:11 PM   #23
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Ksanders – You’re missing the point.
1. Diesel engine exhaust contains consistent and measurable concentrations of CO. Seems to run in the 1,000-2,000 ppm range. These units were, of course, ugly construction and oil field equipment. They do not emit the same pink, rose scented exhaust that our boats do, but still….

2. The “motor powered cabin vessel” (or something to that effect that the USCG uses as a descriptor to characterize the boats on this forum) have, in my experience and by any objective standard, generally poor interior ventilation (air exchanges per unit time).

3. CO exposure is responsible for about 15,000 ER visits and 500 deaths per year in the US. Been pretty consistent throughout 1999-2010. These numbers exclude structural fires, suicides, etc., etc. See the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report if you want to drill down the data. I don’t believe you’ll find a data level that distinguishes between gasoline, propane, and diesel.
4. CO is not an asphyxiant – it does not do damage by displacing O2 in the atmosphere. It is a true toxic agent, inhibiting the blood's ability to carry O2 to vital organs.

5. The insult (damage) produced by CO exposure is a function of CO concentration and the duration of exposure to that concentration. For example, an acute exposure to CO at the 12-13,000 ppm level will fatal in 1-3 minutes; an exposure to just 400 ppm for 4 hours is expected to be fatal.

6. The UL CO detector set point standard reflects this “dose” relationship.
a. > 400 ppm CO, device must alarm between 4 and 15 minutes
b. > 150 ppm of CO, device must alarm between 10 and 50 minutes.
c. > 70 ppm of CO, device must alarm between 60 and 240 minutes.

I did not intend to tread on the closely held belief by many recreational diesel boaters that the diesel propulsion and fuel systems are as benign as a kiddy pool in the backyard.

I have DC plugs lanyarded to every through-hull. Because I expect an imminent through-hull failure? Getting ready for a transPac? Nope. Just a firm and long held belief that Murphy was an optimist and I’m going to do everything I can to insure the safety and longevity of the boat, my passengers, and myself.

When presented with a toxic source with no (zero) warning properties, semi-confined spaces below, and a relatively inexpensive means of managing that risk (even though it’s low probability), I’ll go with the “good” vice the “proper”. To each his own.
That is a wonderful detailed explanation of the risks. Thanks!

Now, I'll revert to my original challenge.

Show me some documented deaths from CO that was emitted from a diesel source.

With 500 CO deaths a year you'd think that you could find some that are documented as being from diesel. I know for a fact that I can find them documented as being from gasoline, and natural gas. They're easy to find.

What I am trying to do is to separate theory from reality. Yes, in theory CO can kill. Yes in reality people actually die from CO poisioning derived from gasoline and natural gas every year.

So where are all the diesel CO deaths? Thats the reality that I'm after. I'm not being snide here. I actually at one point searched for diesel related CO deaths and they just were not there.
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Old 01-30-2015, 04:33 PM   #24
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I've been asked why a "marine" CO detector was the correct one to use versus a Home Despot variety. I'm not an engineer but can talk from personal experience.

I installed a battery powered CO detector, I believe it was a "First Alert" or "Kidde" brand can't recall for sure. It would often alarm when running our diesel generator. I could never find an exhaust leak or source for exhaust intrusion through a window etc. I read (again I can't recall where) that a marine CO detector operates on a different algorithm than a "home" model. I bought a marine CO detector, battery powered, mounted it in the same location as the "home" model and never had an alarm since. Same generator, same dock, same windows etc., etc. Perhaps the home model was defective, or the marine model was defective. Both worked fine in test mode.

This all occurred on our previous boat. I'm still in touch with the new owner and he has not had an alarm sound either. That's a study of one, not scientific, probably not reproducible, but convincing enough for me.

One other thought, we do a lot of anchoring and also have a mooring in one of our favorite locations. I have no clue as to the exhaust conditions of boats up wind of me, and some run those gas powered Honda things. A CO detector gives me some comfort in those conditions. BTW, anyone who runs a generator during sleeping hours is not a considerate neighbor and should have their generator license revoked. Just sayin'. Howard
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Old 01-30-2015, 10:45 PM   #25
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Anyone know of statistical reports regarding annual "marine related" deaths from CO poisoning?

Interesting link and quote:

http://www.oregon.gov/OSMB/pages/safety/carbon2.aspx

What "parts per million" concentrations of carbon monoxide mean to your health:

100 ppm .01% Slight headache in two to three hours
200 ppm .02% Slight headache within two to three hours
400 ppm .04% Frontal headache within one to two hours
800 ppm .08% Dizziness, nausea, and convulsions within 45 minutes. Insensible within two hours.
1,600 ppm .16% Headache, dizziness, and nausea within 20 minutes. Death in less than two hours.
3,200 ppm .32% Headache, dizziness and nausea in five to ten minutes. Death within 30 minutes.
6,400 ppm .64% Headache and dizziness in one to two minutes. Death in less than 20 minutes.
12,800 ppm 1.28% Death in less than three minutes.
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Old 01-30-2015, 11:33 PM   #26
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If you only acted upon statistics, you wouldn't have a CO detector in your boat.

But you would always wear a pfd and you would never drive or ride in a car either.

That said I do have a CO detector in my boat. Mainly for cooking a small space. It is not a marine rated version. It uses TWA sampling and has a digital display. It does not give me nuisance alarms. The only time it has gone off is in a no wind harbour when a nearby boat started up the old crusaders and let 'em warm up for a while...
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Old 01-30-2015, 11:52 PM   #27
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Although I’ve still not located answer to…”Annual number of marine deaths due to CO?” Here’s a bit more info:

Carbon Monoxide Questions and Answers

http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Safety-Education/Safety-Education-Centers/Carbon-Monoxide-Information-Center/Carbon-Monoxide-Questions-and-Answers-/

How many people are unintentionally poisoned by CO?

On average, about 170 people in the United States die every year from CO produced by non-automotive consumer products.

These products include malfunctioning fuel-burning appliances such as furnaces, ranges, water heaters and room heaters; engine-powered equipment such as portable generators; fireplaces; and charcoal that is burned in homes and other enclosed areas.

In 2005 alone, CPSC staff is aware of at least 94 generator-related CO poisoning deaths. Forty-seven of these deaths were known to have occurred during power outages due to severe weather, including Hurricane Katrina.

Still others die from CO produced by non-consumer products, such as cars left running in attached garages.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that several thousand people go to hospital emergency rooms every year to be treated for CO poisoning.
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Old 01-31-2015, 12:23 AM   #28
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You know you don't have to die to be affected, Art; CO causes bain dramage.
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Old 01-31-2015, 02:22 AM   #29
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You know you don't have to die to be affected, Art; CO causes bain dramage.
Heck - Maybe that's the mental problem with our national govt! Progressive and pervasive brain damage because of too much CO out their rears in tightly closed rooms while smoking Cuban cigars ...making illegal deals... just a thought!

I'd still like to learn the stats on number of annual deaths from CO in the marine sector. Somewhere that number exists!
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Old 01-31-2015, 07:13 AM   #30
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That number may exist...but without enough other info to have any meaning.

All sorts of stats are tossed around ....try and make rational sense out of most of them without the original report wrapped around them.
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Old 01-31-2015, 10:06 AM   #31
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This is what they sell at Fisheries Supply

CDM4 Carbon Monoxide Detector - 2 Models - Xintex | Fisheries Supply
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Old 01-31-2015, 11:48 AM   #32
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That number may exist...but without enough other info to have any meaning.

All sorts of stats are tossed around ....try and make rational sense out of most of them without the original report wrapped around them.
I beg to differ! Of course it has meaning to learn the actual number of "marine" deaths due to CO poisoning. Would be great too if the attributable factors of from where the CO originally emanated were broken out in the statistics.

IMHO... If in any location (boat, house, car... etc) we are to not keep CO producing equipment in good condition and to be sure there is adequate ventilation or correct exhaust flow-away so that the CO detector never needs to sound-off; we've not correctly done our job. That said, it is always a good idea to have a CO warning device just in case!

One scorching hot day as we approached our Tolly in covered dock we could hear a warning sound inside. Yup, it was our CO detector. No one was at our dock area, gentle breeze, and our boat had not been started for weeks. Once reset button was pushed the detector shut off and did not start again. Boat was cooking-hot inside. We opened all vent areas. Only thing I can figure was temperature activated the CO alarm... maybe fumes from overheated materials in Master Stateroom had given the CO a false reading?? We keep it in good condition and have not heard it before or since. This year we will get two new ones aboard.
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Old 01-31-2015, 12:04 PM   #33
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I'm relatively new to diesels so this thread caught my interest.
First season w/ my Mainship I had both CO detectors give alarms which I attributed to out of date detectors and have not had any alarms since replacing w/ identical marine / RV type units.

From the searching & reading I've done:
to ksanders original point "Show me some documented deaths from CO that was emitted from a diesel source."
From a book I found : CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING EDITED BY DAVID G. PENNEY
The chapter Carbon Monoxide Dangers in the Marine Environment explores in depth the nationwide deaths due to gasoline propulsion & generator engines
"At this point (published 2008) , there are no poisonings known to have been associated with marine diesel-powered engines of either type"(propulsion or generator engines).

Another source (agreeably not marine related) is cited in "Diesel fumes do kill: a case of fatal carbon monoxide poisoning directly attributed to diesel fuel exhaust with a 10-year retrospective case and literature review*."
States: "Lastly, an extensive literature review produced no scientifically reported cases of fatal CO poisoning attributed to diesel fuel exhaust."

Another study of Myths / Facts: " There is Not Enough Carbon Monoxide In Diesel Exhaust To Kill" This study explores the executions, during the holocaust, by poison gas.
Cites - two scientific studies done by engineers show that it is possible for diesel engine exhaust to contain lethal amounts of carbon monoxide:
And Concludes: "Murdering people using diesel engine exhaust is not "idiotic" or "simply incredible" as Berg claims. A diesel engine can easily be mistuned to produce a lethal amount of carbon monoxide. Adjusting the fuel pump or blocking the air intake is not rocket science and does not require mechanical or engineering skills that were outside the capabilities of the SS technicians who ran the engines."

Bottom Line: I now agree the statistics do not support even a low level of hazard in the diesel marine environment.
Will I keep my detectors and make sure they are operational - yes - if for no other reason than peace of mind that I am also protected from CO from other sources - raft-ups w/ gassers, etc or for the one-in-a -million chance that air flow could somehow become restricted while running (engine or gen set).
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Old 01-31-2015, 12:24 PM   #34
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Sorry Art, I can't give you any empirical data, but anecdotally I've got lots. I've carried personal multi-gas monitors for much of my working career. They keep getting better, smaller and cheaper BTW. The most common alarm I get is CO. The one I carry now is set to 25ppm, TWA 10hrs. Generally speaking, they are almost nuisance alarms as I am rarely in a single area for that length of exposure. If I am in a confined space however there is more cause for concern.

Back in my submarine days, high CO was common from the cooking on board as the catalyst burner couldn't always keep up with the food burner.

As far as boating goes, as a diesel guy, the apparent likelihood of CO poisoning remains low. As mentioned above, the only incident was not caused by me. But as I am in a relatively confined space and sleeping with family members, I remain cognizant of the risk. The consequences span from a slight headache to death.

Of course, you as a petrol guy have a higher risk, as the likelihood is higher. A slow cruise with a tailwind could bring on a headache.

Cheers,

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Old 01-31-2015, 12:50 PM   #35
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Greetings,
Better to have at least "dirt" detectors than none at all. I can live with the false alarms.
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Old 01-31-2015, 01:14 PM   #36
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Greetings,
Better to have at least "dirt" detectors than none at all. I can live with the false alarms.
Zactly!
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Old 01-31-2015, 11:39 PM   #37
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One scorching hot day as we approached our Tolly in covered dock we could hear a warning sound inside. Yup, it was our CO detector. No one was at our dock area, gentle breeze, and our boat had not been started for weeks. Once reset button was pushed the detector shut off and did not start again. Boat was cooking-hot inside. We opened all vent areas. Only thing I can figure was temperature activated the CO alarm... maybe fumes from overheated materials in Master Stateroom had given the CO a false reading?? We keep it in good condition and have not heard it before or since. This year we will get two new ones aboard.
Yep. Hot plastic or paint can off-gas fumes that trigger certain sensors. Also drying paint. It can be a pain.

Wouldn't leave home without one though. I'm not overly concerned about the engine but there are other CO sources out there - any gas engine nearby, the galley stove, or heaters. Not that you southerners need to worry about having a a box with flames in it on board to keep you (and your plumbing) from freezing.
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Old 02-02-2015, 10:18 PM   #38
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In the State of Washington your registration comes with a notice and sign that must be posted on all boats concerning the danger of CO and this sign is part of the CGAUX vessel safety check provided the examiner is informed and on his game. There is no requirement for an alarm SX but I think it is a good idea and I personally prefer the more sensitive unit. I rather see a couple of false alarms then somebody overwhelmed because they were in a place where the gas collected in a circulation pocket.
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Old 02-04-2015, 07:41 PM   #39
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As with any occupational epidemiology, confounding factors abound. The search for CO/diesel/marine/deaths won't turn up much. Because, among other reasons, I suspect it doesn't happen much. But, I would not discount the possibility due to the known toxicity of the agent. There was a rather interesting study done in the case of a truck driver found dead in his rig at a rest stop in Kentucky. Turned out it was CO due to exhaust leaks - he had bedded down in his sleeper with engine running. The really interesting conclusion of the study that looked at a hundred or so similar cases over a ten year period was that many medical examiners had not conducted blood work as part of the post and had relied, instead, on visual cues. Short answer is a lot of misdiagnosis because the MEs were looking for lividity (that isn't always present) to indicate CO poisoning rather than the more definitive blood tests.

It's a low probability, I believe, but the risk is not trivial.

On another note, a commentor above was referring to the "test" function on the alarms. "Test" validates the signal processing circuitry - not the sensor. They do wear out, and probably faster in the temp extremes and humidity that boats present than in a conditioned environment. Unless you have access to cal gas, etc. the best bet is to replace them at regular intervals.
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Old 02-04-2015, 08:41 PM   #40
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Ya know, and of course...


There is much good reason to have CO detector aboard a boat... however, its useful signal is only needed for "if" / "when" CO accumulates inside living/working/sleeping areas (especially enclosed area with no clean-air transfer).


So... not to diminish the good of these detectors, but, why would captain of a "normal-sized" pleasure craft allow things to happen that places CO concentration into danger levels?? For over 100 years there were boats with no CO detector. For decades my family and all we knew had boats with no detector.


The premises we operated under, being in full knowledge of CO poisoning:


- Never sleep with any engine running or propane stove burning
- Always have at least some way for clean-air to enter confined areas and for the air inside to exit so the air is consistently refreshed
- If tailgate exhaust draft happens while running either close off rear openings in salon (if equipped) and open front openings, or change speed, or change course


The simplicity of not having CO accumuate an area of a moderate sized pleasure boat is not rocket science.


That said... I do appreciate CO detectors and keep them in good condition. Ain't technology great!
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