The Broads Authority and the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) have issued a warning to boat users about the dangers of carbon monoxide (CO) over winter.

They say CO poisoning is more prevalent in winter because boaters run their engines to power heating and appliances.

MAIB chief inspector Captain Andrew Moll said: "With winter upon us and fuel prices still high, boat users may be tempted to keep doors and windows closed to stay warm and reduce drafts.

"However, carbon monoxide can build up when engines idle in enclosed areas, such as against quay walls, next to other boats or inside locks.

"Adequate ventilation is an important way of protecting against the potential accumulation of poisonous fumes in cabins.

"Carbon monoxide alarms are readily available, inexpensive and easy to install."

CO is a poisonous gas that has no smell or taste, making it particularly deadly and hard to detect without a working alarm.

There have been a number of widely publicised, CO-related deaths in the boating community in the last 20 years.

Early symptoms of CO poisoning can be masked or mistaken for colds, flu or Covid-19.

The Broads Authority recommends people familiarise themselves with the dangers CO presents.

The authority says boats should have at least one suitable working CO alarm aboard.

Other tips include:
•    Crew members should know the symptoms of CO poisoning and how to react if it is suspected;
•    Install fuel-burning appliances properly, in line with makers' directions;
•    Follow servicing guidelines, maintenance should be routine and competent;
•    Always use appliances as per their instructions and never use cookers for space heating;
•    Don’t block ventilation– appliance fuels like gas, coal, wood, oil, paraffin, etc. need sufficient air to burn safely;
•    Don’t bring charcoal barbecues board, or have them near a cabin during or after use - only stone-cold charcoal is safe;
•    Keep engine fumes out of the cabin space, never use a portable generator in or near a cabin;
•    Learn about the danger signs, and spot potential hazards before CO occurs;
•    Deal with problems immediately, never use equipment you suspect has problems
•    If you experience a sudden onset headache and feel lethargic, get into fresh air immediately and call 999 if symptoms do not subside.

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