7-year-old Flagstaff girl died from carbon-monoxide poisoning during a boating trip at Lake
Carbon monoxide is an odorless, tasteless gas that in sufficient concentrations can replace
the oxygen in your lungs, which can be fatal.
Carbon monoxide is produced not only by boat engines but also by generators, making it a
special concern with houseboats. Houseboats rented at Lake Powell marinas have carbonmonoxide
detectors. But privately owned houseboats may not have them.
Here are safety tips from the National Park Service and the U.S. Coast Guard:
• Do not allow passengers to congregate around engines or the backs of boats when
engines or generators are running. This is especially important if the boat is enclosed for
• Maintain fresh-air circulation throughout the boat at all times. Run exhaust blowers
whenever the generator is operating.
• Some boats vent carbon monoxide out the back, and the deadly gas can collect under
the swim step and other spaces under the boat. The gas remains there long after engines
and generators have been shut down. Don't play or swim under the swim step or under
• Although carbon monoxide can be present without the smell of exhaust fumes, if you
smell exhaust fumes, carbon monoxide also is present. Take immediate action to dissipate
• Treat symptoms of seasickness as possible carbon-monoxide poisoning. Get the person
into fresh air immediately. Seek medical attention if you can't rule out carbon monoxide.