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Carbon monoxide poisoning also a danger outside

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Outdoors

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho - A 22-year old died from carbon monoxide poisoning on a boat with his friends at Bear Lake recently.

Many people hear about carbon monoxide poisonings when grills are brought indoors or cars are started in a closed garage.

Outdoors, many rule out the possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning, but it can happen in open waters if boaters sit too close to the exhaust pipe.

A fun summer day boating on the water isn't supposed to be deadly, but packing a lot of people on a boat and sitting in the back can make it hard to stay safe.

Sgt. Jeff Edwards with the Bonneville County Sheriff's Office said people often feel light headed and not realize they are being exposed to carbon monoxide.

"Don't allow people that extra time to be at the rear of the boat, people think it's fun and popular to ski on the back of the boat and hang onto the boat and ski, those are so dangerous for people," said Edwards.

Sitting at the back of the boat puts people right next to the exhaust pipe and even in the outdoors carbon monoxide poisoning can be deadly in a matter of seconds.

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, tasteless gas, but Edwards said it can build up on any boat.

"That space behind a boat where the water is up against the bottom, that area is where carbon monoxide is going to build because that wind is passing over the top and sides. There is no wind generally to hit that very back of the boat where the motor is generally all the time," said Edwards.

He added to turn the motor off when anyone pulls up behind the boat and especially if idling.

"Run the blower on your boat which is basically a compressor system that'll run that air out of the trap compartments on inboard motors and it will help dispel some of that away," said Edwards.

Checking carbon monoxide levels is not part of a routine autopsy, so many deaths are ruled as drowning rather than carbon monoxide poisoning.

Autopsy results on the young man who died at Bear Lake confirm his death was from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Since the 1990s, there have been more than 800 cases of carbon monoxide related illnesses or deaths on the water.

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