Warm Up – Don’t Asphyxiate

boat co  carbon monoxide

We’ve all been told to warm up our motors while we are casting off the dock lines; so that, when we shift into gear (either forward or reverse) it doesn’t stall. Right?

This is really good advice; but, how long do you have to run the motor(s) to warm them up?

Some boaters run them for just a few minutes, while others leave them idling at the dock for several minutes to as long as half an hour.

co kills

 At sunrise one day, I watched a fisherman start his motor, then go for a 15 minute wander down the main dock, loudly chatting with all his dock buddies about his fishing plans for the entire day.

Meantime, his wife was left in the cockpit inhaling all his boat’s CO (carbon dioxide) fumes.

Eventually, when he returned, she was pretty dozzy and the boaters down breeze were chocking, coughing and ticked off.

This habit of leaving the motor(s) running too long in the slip can and has caused death. CO is a deadly silent killer. Because this boat didn’t have the full enclosure canvas on, she survived.

Yes, warm up the motor(s), but make sure you aren’t putting anyone’s life at risk. You only need to warm the motor(s) for around 5 minutes. Don’t leave them running too long. I always start the motor(s), unplug the shore cord, cast off the lines and by then, they are warmed up enough that they don’t stall when I shift into reverse to leave the slip.

Don’t asphyxiate your crew and neighbors.

See also:

Major Harbour Danger

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