Carbon Monoxide -THAT SILENT
UNITED STATES COAST GUARD
Headquarters Public Affairs
Washington, DC 20593
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Thursday August 2, 2001
Boating Safety: Captain Scott Evans 202-267-1077 or Mr. Al Marmo 202-267-0950
Public Affairs: James "Jack" O' Dell 202-267-6491
Carbon Monoxide -THAT SILENT KILLER- Finds Yet Another Way To Kill: Coast
Guard warns public of dangers associated with: "Teak Surfing"
The United States Coast Guard advises boaters not to "Teak Surf."
Recent boating fatalities revealed that carbon monoxide [CO] emitted from
a vessel's exhaust resulted in CO poisoning and the death of teak surfers.
"Teak Surfing" places the individual in position directly exposed
to the CO in the engine's exhaust. This may result in a loss of coherent
responses and even death. In addition, "Teak Surfing" dangerously
exposes the individual to a possible propeller injury, and since it is
done without a life jacket [PFD], it significantly increases the probability
of drowning. Therefore, the Coast Guard stresses, "Teak Surfing"
is a very dangerous activity and advises boaters not to participate in
"TEAK SURFING"/ITS DANGERS: The Coast Guard noted that carbon
monoxide has found a new venue to ply its silent but deadly means: "Teak
Surfing." This is a new and dangerous boating fad that involves an
individual holding on to the teak swim platform of a vessel while a wake
builds up then lets go to body surf the wave created by the boat; hence
the term- "Teak Surfing."
Captain Scott Evans-Chief of the Office
of Boating Safety, U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters- pointed out, "Because
of the multiple dangers associated with "teak surfing" and the
carbon monoxide problem in particular, the Coast Guard issued this alert
that strongly advises the public not to engage in "Teak Surfing"
and warns that "Teak Surfing" may cause carbon monoxide poisoning
and even fatalities."
"Besides carbon monoxide poisoning, Evans emphasized, two other dangerous
factors are associated with "Teak Surfing. It exposes an individual
unnecessarily and dangerously to a boat's propeller, and this is compounded
by the failure to wear a life jacket."
"Teak Surfing" requires that an individual hold on to the swim
platform of a vessel that is underway while it builds up a wake on which
he or she can body surf," explained Evans. "This puts that individual
directly in the path of the vessel's exhaust and poisonous external carbon
monoxide. If that in itself is not dangerous enough, the individual is
now in a position that a slight miscalculation may throw him or her into
a whirling propeller. Still ... it doesn't stop there. In order to "Teak
Surf" you don't wear a life jacket, the two do not go together. As
is easily seen, all this is a recipe for a tragedy. A tragedy that the
Coast Guard wants to see averted; that is why we are issuing this warning."
THE COAST GUARD AND CO: Evans noted. "The Coast Guard, along with
the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health [NIOSH], other
researchers, and the states, are actively investigating carbon monoxide
and the dangers this silent killer brings to the marine environment and
recreational boating. Recent information revealed that carbon monoxide
exposure is a threat not only inside the boat, but outside the boat as
well. A NIOSH investigation linked external carbon monoxide to houseboats
with a design flaw that vented generator exhaust into a an enclosed space
near the stern swim platform, resulting in external carbon monoxide poisonings
and deaths at Lake Powell, Arizona. Once this link was established, the
Coast Guard immediately initiated a recall of the affected houseboats.
Today, the Coast Guard, NIOSH and the states are continuing to investigate
exhaust problems in order to identify the most optimal manner for dealing
Evans stressed, "Both on land and at sea, carbon monoxide is not
to be tempted. Researchers have found CO danger to persons sitting on
or near a swim deck. That is why we cannot stress enough that you protect
yourself and avoid activities such as "Teak Surfing", since
it places you directly in the path of carbon monoxide's lethal tentacles."
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