103. Carbon Monoxide Emissions and Exposures on Recreational Boats Under Various Operating Conditions

G. Earnest, A. Echt, J. McCammon, K. Dunn, R. McCleery, D. Hammond, L. Blade
2003 AIHce 2003   unpublished
Under an interagency agreement with the United States Coast Guard, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) researchers evaluated carbon monoxide (CO) exposures on over ten recreational boats in the United States, including ski boats, cabin cruisers, deck boats, fishing boats, and personal watercraft. Most of the evaluated boats were speed boats or cabin cruisers, ranging in age from new to 25 years old. These boats had gasoline-powered, propulsion engines, and the
more » ... s, and the evaluated cabin cruisers used gasoline-powered generators to provide electricity. This investigation grew from a series of recent studies to reduce CO exposures and poisonings on houseboats. Epidemiologic investigations found that from 1990 to 2000, 111 CO poisonings occurred on Lake Powell, near the Arizona and Utah border. Seventy-four of the poisonings occurred on houseboats and 37 poisonings occurred on other types of recreational boats. NIOSH researchers are aware of 106 nationwide CO poisonings associated with recreational boats (non-houseboats). This study was performed for the U.S. Coast Guard to better understand how CO poisonings can occur on recreational boats and to identify the most hazardous conditions. Boats were evaluated while stationary and at multiple speeds, ranging from 2.5 to 25 miles per hour. CO concentrations were measured by multiple real-time instruments, which were placed at different locations on the boats and at various distances behind the boat while moving. Study results indicated that stationary conditions were generally the most hazardous; however, many boats while moving had elevated CO concentrations near the rear deck. Most of the evaluated boats generated hazardous CO concentrations: peak CO concentrations often exceeded 1,000 parts per million (ppm), while average CO concentrations were well over 100 ppm at the stern (rear). Two boats-one with a 150-horsepower (hp), 2-stroke, direct-fuel injected Evinrude Ficht outboard engine, and the other with a 40-hp, 4-stroke Johnson outboard engine-had dramatically lower CO concentrations than any of the other evaluated boats. Peak and average CO concentrations for these two outboard engines were an order of magnitude lower than engines on most of the other evaluated boats. These two new engines depended on recently developed technologies to burn cleanly and comply with the EPA regulations for outboard marine engines. Greater use of gasoline-powered marine engines having engineering controls to lower CO emissions could dramatically reduce the likelihood of CO poisonings related to recreational boating. Development and use of emission control technologies such as catalytic converters and emission control devices (ECDs), and greater use of cleaner-burning drive engines and generators could minimize the future number of CO poisonings in the marine environment. 2 BACKGROUND On April 22 through 25, 2002, researchers from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) evaluated carbon monoxide (CO) emissions and exposures on a variety of recreational boats at Callville Bay Marina on Lake Mead, Nevada, and at Wahweap Marina on Lake Powell, near Page, Arizona. This evaluation was conducted under an interagency agreement between the U.S. Coast Guard's Office of Boating Safety and NIOSH to become more fully aware of the types of CO emissions and exposures that were occurring on recreational boats used in the United States today. A similar NIOSH survey occurred at Lake Norman, North Carolina, and the results of that survey are described in a separate report. In both of these surveys, a cross-section of recreational boats were evaluated, including ski boats, cabin cruisers, deck boats, fishing boats, and personal watercraft. Each of the evaluated boats were propelled by gasoline-powered engines, and the evaluated cabin cruiser had a gasoline-powered generator to provide electrical power for onboard appliances. This report provides background information and describes the NIOSH study methods, results, discussion, conclusions, and recommendations. 4 Twenty-seven of the 38 poisonings were related to occupancy of the swim platform or swim step at the rear of the boat. Five of these people were swimming behind stationary recreational boats when poisoned, and six were seated on the transoms or in the rear seats of the boats.
doi:10.3320/1.2757768 fatcat:hbgvltxlvjc2tbr7x5dmmdrvgi