Minnesota Law Requires Carbon Monoxide Detectors on Boats
Updated: 06/17/2016 10:54 AM
Created: 06/17/2016 7:51 AM
A new state law will require thousands of Minnesota boaters
to install carbon monoxide detectors in their watercrafts.
The Star Tribune reports that the legislation,
called Sophia's Law, is named after 7-year-old
Sophia Baechler, who
died last October of carbon monoxide poisoning when
the gas leaked from a hole in a boat's exhaust pipe on Lake
The bill passed in April after the Edina girl's family came up
with the idea, lobbied for it and testified about her death.
The law mandates that any motorboat with sleeping area, galleys
and other "enclosed accommodation areas" must have a hard-wired,
marine-certified carbon monoxide detector by May 1, 2017.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources estimates that
about 8,000 boats will need carbon monoxide detectors under the
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(End of Article)
Electrical hazards from operating a portable generator include
shock and electrocution.
Keep the generator dry and do not use in rain or wet
conditions. To protect from moisture, operate the generator
on a dry surface under an open, canopy-like structure. Dry
your hands if wet before touching the generator.
Plug appliances directly into the generator, or use a heavy
duty, outdoor-rated extension cord that is rated (in watts
or amps) at least equal to the sum of the connected
appliance loads. Check that the entire cord is free of cuts
or tears, and that the plug has all three prongs, especially
a grounding pin.
NEVER try to power the house wiring by plugging the
generator into a wall outlet, a practice known as
“backfeeding.” This is an extremely dangerous practice that
presents an electrocution risk to utility workers and
neighbors served by the same utility transformer. It also
bypasses some of the built-in household circuit protection
If you must connect the generator to the house wiring to
power appliances, have a qualified electrician install the
appropriate equipment in accordance with local electrical
codes. Or, check with your utility company to see if it can
install an appropriate power transfer switch.
Arizona Boating and Water Sports
"You do not have to be inside the boat to be at risk," Game and
Fish Boating Law Administrator Kevin Bergersen said. "Boaters
have died from exposure on the swim platforms of their boats and
in other areas where carbon monoxide exhaust may accumulate or
be emitted. Be aware of the early symptoms like irritated eyes,
headache, nausea, weakness and dizziness."
Generators pose a risk of shock and electrocution,
especially if they are operated in wet conditions. If you
must use a generator when it is wet outside, protect the
generator from moisture to help avoid the
shock/electrocution hazard, but do so without operating the
generator indoors or near openings to any building that can
be occupied in order to help avoid the CO hazard. Operate
the generator under an open, canopy-like structure on a dry
surface where water cannot reach it or puddle or drain under
it. Dry your hands, if wet, before touching the generator.
CARBON MONOXIDE: DEADLY SHIP
Carbon Monoxide on boat is deadly!
The state of Minnesota recently enacted legislation
called Sophie’s Law, which requires all new boats sold in
Minnesota, that have enclosed accommodations, to have a Carbon
Monoxide Detector and warning labels in three places.
This won’t go into
effect until 2017, but is already resonating with other states
and with boating organizations across the country.
So what can the boat builder and boat owner do, other
than just installing a marine carbon monoxide detector on their
There are many things you can do to prevent
CO poisoning. The first is to make sure boat engines are tuned
and running at their best. Make sure engine room ventilation
system not only meets the requirements for exhausting fumes, but
supply enough air for the engines to get all the air they need
to run properly. Do they
same for auxiliary generators.
This is a common mistake made by boat
builders and boat owners.
They believe wrongly that if their boat complies with
USCG ventilation requirements, that it is getting enough air.
Ventilation rules are designed only to do one thing,
exhaust gasoline fumes from the compartment and keep the fuel
air mixture below the explosive limit.
They do not address the amount of air an engine may need
to run efficiently. A quick and easy check can show if enough
air is getting to the engine. Start it up with the engine
When the engine is running at its normal speed and temperature,
open the hatch. If
the engine speeds up it is not getting enough air!
If that is the case it is probably producing CO.
Next is to make sure the bulkhead between the engine room and
the living spaces on your boat is air tight.
Look for small openings
around pipes, wires and conduit. Limber holes used to drain
incidental water out of compartment can also be a path for
Check your exhaust system for the engines and generators and
make sure there are no leaks. Replace any worn exhaust hose,
pipes, mufflers, etc.
When docked or at anchor don't run the generator with the cabin
all sealed up and tight. Make sure you have adequate ventilation
that flows through the cabin, especially if you are running an
air conditioner. Air conditioner intakes have been known to be
the means that the carbon monoxide from the exhaust got into the
Check to see where holes
in the side of your boat are located in relation to the exhaust.
Intake cowls for
engines, drains for sinks and showers, fans bringing air into
the cabin, can all be sources of CO if the exhaust is upwind,
and/or too close to openings. ABYC Standards say at least 15
inches, but even that may not be far enough.
If you have negative
pressures in the cabin, that is the cabin pressure is less than
that outside, then CO can be sucked in through these opens. You
always need to have positive cabin pressure or the same pressure
as the outside air to keep the CO out.
Studies have shown that simply opening a hatch, or window when
you are moving can provide enough air to ventilate living
spaces. But make sure it is a door window or hatch that is on
the upwind side. If
a boat is traveling downwind and you open a door, hatch or
window on the aft side of the cabin, the station wagon effect
may result in CO being brought into the cabin.
If you are not familiar
with the station wagon effect on boats; look here.
There are lots of sites that have information on CO. Here's
mine. Scroll down a little and the links will be on the right
Carbon Monoxide Links
More CO links on Portable generators
US Fire Administration
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning . Com
USCG Boating Safety Circular 86 on Carbon
Center For Disease Control (CDC)
Oregon Marine Board on CO
Kansas Dept Of Health
Boating Side Kicks
Arizona Boating And Watersports