16 Aug 2017

The UK’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) has published its report following an investigation into the fatal accident which occurred on board the motor cruiser Vasquez. As part of an industry agreement, British Marine is working alongside the Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA), the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) and the Boat Safety Scheme (BSS) to undertake a campaign to warn boaters of the risks caused by carbon monoxide and what can be done to prevent another tragedy from occurring.

On 12 November 2016, the owner of the 7.75m motor cruiser Vasquez fell unconscious after being overcome by carbon monoxide (CO) that had been emitted from his boat’s inboard petrol engine. Although rescuers came to his aid and conducted cardio-pulmonary resuscitation, it was not possible to save his life. Two of the rescuers had to be treated for the effects of CO poisoning following the accident. 

The CO was found to have originated from the rubber bellows of the wet-exhaust system of the engine, which was not only leaking exhaust fumes but also water. The boat’s engine had not been regularly serviced, and evidence revealed that the exhaust system of the engine had been modified during the boat’s life. 

Tragically, Vasquez’s 72-year-old owner Ray Milton died from CO poisoning because, without a CO detector/alarm being fitted to his boat, he was unaware that CO from his boat’s engine exhaust was entering the cockpit and cabin area.

Source: British Marine