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Message 1 of 17
Posted by member Peter Cox on Thursday 11 May 2017

MAIB report into a tragedy with lessons for us all
I hadn't heard the term 'station wagon effect' before but can vouch that it exists; my previous Hardy 27 had it badly, mainly through the poorly-designed gap between the top of the transom door and the bottom of the cockpit canopy. I made something out of three sides of a piece of rectangular plastic ducting to clip over the transom above the door to close the gap and it was a great improvement, although not 100% effective; having a wheelhouse window or the sunroof open, and/or the wheelhouse doors closed also reduced the problem. Apart from the serious health hazard (I have always had a CO alarm), I found that there was a static charge attraction between plastic surfaces in the boat and soot particles. The diagrams in the report annex are good.

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Message 2 of 17
Posted by member HOC Editor on Thursday 11 May 2017

Thanks Peter,

This is a most important post.

I am passing this on to everyone and you are quite right - lessons for us all. How dreadful for all concerned. Condolences to their families.


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Message 3 of 17
Posted by member Simon Kidd on Thursday 11 May 2017

Peter and Marie a good point to raise.

The Station Wagon effect is a problem for most boats, these days people seem to like to leave the canopy up and this does make matters worse, but even with the canopy down, the engine exhaust can blow into the accommodation with a following wind - our CO alarm has sounded twice due to this, and I've had several occasions where alarms have sounded in aft accommodation areas due to exhaust blowing in through portlights etc, even through the alarm in the saloon area has remained silent. Petrol Engines seem to be far worse, though diesels are still a risk - even our little 50hp outboards are a problem.

Another issue is - can you trust the exhaust on your heater, or the exhausts on inboard engines not to leak, it's frightening how many times I find traces of exhaust leaks on engines and heaters - another source of CO. Indeed - I'm very skeptical about the Silencers often fitted to heating systems.

We're all at risk from this, so working Co alarms for all should be essential, and more than one alarm for larger vessels - perhaps one in the cockpit, one in any aft cabin and another in the saloon...?


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Message 4 of 17
Posted by member HOC Editor on Thursday 11 May 2017

Thanks Simon,

I do worry about heaters as well.

Have added this BSS link for members. There is a lot of information about Carbon Monoxide alarms if you just Google - makes such as Kidde, Fire Angel and the more sophisticated Nereus. Some are advertised as boat specific, but I guess anything is better than nothing at all?

Any further advice, Simon, as to what suits, or what not to get, in your experience?

As you have already said, I guess where these alarms are positioned is as important as anything.

The BSS do suggest some specific brands, but have you any more advice bearing in mind we have owners with boats in size from Pilot 20s upwards?

I will contact Anthony, our resident retired Fire Officer and owner of a Hardy 36 to see if he would like to offer some advice as well.


Carbon Monoxide (CO)

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Message 5 of 17
Posted by member Peter Cox on Thursday 11 May 2017

If you are going to buy a CO detector, make sure it is certificated to EN 50291-2: 2010 for boats and caravans (and homes). EN 50291-1: 2010 is for homes only. Many websites only say EN 50291 2010, so it is necessary to check the actual detector for the '-2' bit. The FireAngel CO-9B fits the bill and is cheap at B&Q. (Awaiting Anthony Purnell's expert view)

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Message 6 of 17
Posted by member HOC Editor on Thursday 11 May 2017

Thanks Peter,

I've just emailed Anthony to see if he is around and would like to add anything more to this post.
Once again, my thanks to you for initially bringing the topic up.

We need to help everyone to protect themselves if we can - this sort of tragedy should never have happened.


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Message 7 of 17
Posted by member HOC Editor on Thursday 11 May 2017

Sorry everyone, my link to the BSS site about this topic for some reason did not appear on my post :

Carbon Monoxide (CO)

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Message 8 of 17
Posted by member HOC Editor on Thursday 11 May 2017

Ok, I admit defeat, as regards the link to the BSS. I will write it out in full and see if that works (you may have to copy & paste this into your browser...):

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Message 9 of 17
Posted by member Kenny Clark on Monday 15 May 2017

Hi All,
Having read the posts on this. I have just purchased new smoke alarm, FireAngel ST-620Q with 10yr battery life and CO-9QX CO alarm 7yr battery life.

Rather than keep replacing batteries on old units, decidiced to go to the expense of new sealed units. Probably works out similar costs over the life of alarms.

Also preferred separate CO alarm, as wanted to mount above bed head rather than on cabin ceiling.


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Message 10 of 17
Posted by member David Freeman on Friday 26 May 2017

Just bought the same as Kenny, although I only have a Hardy Bosun better safe than sorry, also the CO alarm is small and portable so can use elsewhere when not on the boat.

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Message 11 of 17
Posted by member Peter Cox on Monday 29 May 2017

More information: https://www.boatsafetyscheme.org/media/293205/carbon-monoxide-safety-on-boats-final-dec2016.pdf

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Message 12 of 17
Posted by member DARKIVY on Thursday 3 August 2017

Station Wagon effect illustrated here:


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Message 13 of 17
Posted by member DARKIVY on Thursday 3 August 2017

We are going to Publish a feature on CO safety in the next edition of the HO Magazine.
I have three independent CO detectors and two smoke detectors onboard.
Those poor people died needlessly for the sake of a CO detector they might have been saved. How very sad.

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Message 14 of 17
Posted by member DARKIVY on Friday 4 August 2017

Peter I have read the whole report and it is shocking to see so many lives have been lost but for the fitting of a working CO detector and an awareness of the dangers of CO.
The report states the following loss of life (near miss) reported.
Leisure craft
"Love of Lydia" June 2016 2 adults plus their pet dog deceased by CO poisoning
"Arniston" April 2013 Woman + 10 year old daughter deceased by CO poisoning after using generator

"Drunken Duck" March 2007 Couple + dog deceased by CO poisoning

Unnamed Canal Boat Jan 2014 Owner found dead after using portable generator

Unnamed Motorcruiser March 2016 Owner stopped boat to ventilate after CO alarms actuated returning from having canopy fitted Survived (near miss)

"Vasquez" Cardiff Owner found collapsed never recovered two rescuers poisoned by CO but recovered.

Fishing Vessels
"Eshcol"Jan 2014 two young fishermen found dead after using grill to warm cabin

"Starlight Rays" August 2011 Engineer died after fumes from pump overcame him.

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Message 15 of 17
Posted by member Hardy Editor on Friday 4 August 2017

Ahoy Everyone,

I wanted to extend my gratitude to both HOC members Peter Cox for initially bringing the topic of CO to the fore again on this Forum, and also to Anthony of Dark Ivy, who many of you will already know as a contributor to our Hardy Owner magazine.

Anthony is the owner of a Hardy Commodore 36 and is a retired fire officer with extensive experience and knowledge in the field of firefighting and associated rescue situations. He responded with vigour to our request to investigate the current safety information available to boat owners concerned about the hazards of Carbon Monoxide (CO). To this end, Anthony compiled an excellent and informative article for the Autumn Edition of our Hardy Owner magazine covering issues of CO poisioning and associated dangers. He researched extensively using his own contacts within the Fire Service, and also approached representatives from a variety of organisations, including that of the Environment Agency with regards to information supplied covering the Boat Safety Scheme. Anthony’s patience and tenacity has brought forth some important additional issues which I am sure owners of all boats will find fascinating, if unsettling.

In view of the report published and listed here on this Forum today, as regards lives lost as a result of CO poisoning, (see previous post) I think that Anthony’s article is well overdue - and as he says, but for sake of installing a working CO detector, these lives could have been saved.

Please take the time to read Anthony’s article Carbon Monoxide Silent but Deadly either via his link here below, or in the next issue of your Hardy Owner magazine, and pass it on. It could really save your life.


Thank you.

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Message 16 of 17
Posted by member DARKIVY on Friday 4 August 2017

Please be aware of the dangers of portable BBQ packs/buckets. They can produce enough Carbon Monoxide to kill you.



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Message 17 of 17
Posted by member SIMON on Sunday 6 August 2017

I should draw your attention to two recent finds ref CO.
The first - I've recently come across several vessels with inboard engines (some small, some large) with porous exhaust hoses, and also with poor exhast conections causing leaks (exhaust and water).

Secondly, I'm getting tired of the number of heating system exhaust leaks becoming evident - sooting around the exhaust thru-hull connection has been the most common. I have also seen a report warning of exhaust leaks from heater exhaust silencers. Please check your systems very carefully.

I've surveyed some very tidy, very well maintained, high quality vessels recently - the type of survey you look forward to, though all of the above and much more was evident...

Even my own boat has developed a safety fault recently - to be covered in the next mag.

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