Boating tragedy averted

A grim reminder as we reach the midway point of national Safe Boating Awareness Week.

Two children lost consciousness due to carbon monoxide poisoning while boating with their family this past long weekend.

The potentially fatal incident happened over the long weekend in the waters of Indian Arm, when a North Vancouver family was out boating in a 27-foot vessel equipped with an inboard engine.

On the return trip to the marina in North Vancouver the children, aged seven and 10, went down below in the cabin of the boat while three adults stayed up on the outer deck. A while later just before 9 p.m. one of the parents went down below and found the two children groggy and unresponsive. Fortunately the children were brought into the fresh air and recovered quickly.

The boat was met by emergency personnel at the marina where the two children were given oxygen and taken to hospital. Both children were released and are expected to make a complete recovery.

Investigators believe that carbon monoxide had leaked from the inboard engine compartment into the cabin where the children where resting.

"Thankfully this incident did not end up more tragic than what it did," said Cpl. Richard De Jong of the North Vancouver RCMP. "This week is and police are reminding all boaters to be safety minded while on the water – especially being aware of carbon monoxide poisoning."

Carbon monoxide is a potentially deadly gas produced any time a carbon-based fuel, such as gasoline, propane, charcoal or oil burns. Cold or poorly tuned engines produce more carbon monoxide than warm, properly tuned engines. Installing a carbon monoxide detector in each accommodation space on your boat is a good safety measure.

The best precaution against carbon monoxide poisoning is to keep fresh air flowing through the vessel.

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