Houseboats may pose risks to marina workers: study

Washington – Some types of houseboats may create hazardous levels of carbon monoxide for marina workers, according to a NIOSH study.

Researchers measured carbon monoxide concentrations on houseboats that use gasoline-powered generators without emission controls and found that the uncontrolled generators routinely emitted carbon monoxide levels above NIOSH’s “immediately dangerous to life or health” value of 1,200 parts per million.

The study began in 2000 at the request of the Department of the Interior and the National Park Service, which asked NIOSH to conduct a hazard health evaluation after carbon monoxide poisonings occurred on and around houseboats.

The report states that, after NIOSH’s investigations, the agency worked with houseboat and generator manufacturers to develop engineering controls to reduce carbon monoxide exposure and poisonings among marina workers and boaters. NIOSH also worked with the Environmental Protection Agency to establish regulations that affect marine engines.

The study was published online June 5 in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene.