Boating Safety Information
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning—Warning Fact Sheet
What to do to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning
The “station wagon effect” or backdrafting can cause carbon monoxide to accumulate inside the cabin, cockpit and bridge areas when operating the boat at a high bow angle or with improper or heavy loading. Backdrafting can also occur when the boat is underway using protective weather coverings.
Electrical Shock Hazards—Warning Fact Sheet
Each year swimmers, boaters and people in marinas are injured or killed by electrical accidents. These occur because of wiring problems, component failures or the use of improper equipment when bringing 120 volt or 120.240 volt AC shorepower on board boats. Virtually all of these accidents are avoidable.
While AC electrical power is potentially deadly in any location, it is especially dangerous in and around the water. If there is a problem with the marina wiring, your boat’s wiring or its shorepower cord, contacting concrete or metal docks or the water itself can cause electrical shock. Handling shorepower cords when you are barefoot increases the chance of being electrocuted.
Electricity cannot be detected without the use of specialized test equipment. It may be present on metallic objects such as marina electrical equipment and shorepower connectors or even in the water itself. Contact with electrically energized equipment may result in painful shock, burns, muscle contraction or paralysis, loss of breathing and even stopping of the heart.
Electricity may be present in the water in places where boats are connected to shorepower or where marina wiring is defective. Electricity in the water will generally paralyze swimmers to the point where they lose muscle control, cannot swim and then drown. In a few cases the electrical “field” has been strong enough to cause electrocution from cardiac arrest. The possibility of either of these occurring is greater in fresh than in salt water.
When disconnecting from shorepower:
Once a year, have a qualified marina electrician perform the following:
What to do to avoid electrical shock
Warning - water and electricity do not mix
In the event of an in-water or onboard electrical accident:
Turn off (or unplug) the power to all boats in the area immediately (only then is it safe for others to effect rescue)
Remove the victim from the water
If needed, begin rescue breathing or CPR (as appropriate)
To find out more information about how to avoid electrical shock hazards on recreational boats and how to make boating safer, contact:
1 Batterymarch Park
Quincy, MA 02169-7471
NFPA 70 (National Electrical Code);
Article 555 (Marinas and Boatyards)
NFPA 302 (Motorcraft)
NFPA 303 (Marinas and Boatyards)