On 4 December 2019 two men returned to 9.18m privately owned motor cruiser Diversion, which was moored on the river Ouse in York. The diesel fuelled heater had been leaking exhaust fumes into the boat’s cabin while they were ashore, and both men were overcome by a high level of carbon monoxide gas and died shortly after they entered the boat’s cabin.
1) no carbon monoxide alarm was fitted;
2) the cabin heater had been installed by the vessel’s owner, but the installation had not been professionally checked and no servicing had been carried out.
This accident is still under investigation and the findings will be published by the MAIB in a full investigation report.
Statement from the Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents:
“The MAIB investigation into this tragic loss of lives once again highlights the importance of installing carbon monoxide alarms on boats with enclosed accommodation spaces. This is the fifth fatal marine accident investigated since 2014, where a functioning carbon monoxide alarm could have saved lives. Carbon monoxide alarms suitable for the marine environment are readily available, inexpensive and simple to fit, and I urge boat owners to invest in one as soon as possible.
“It is commonplace for marine engines, generators, cookers and heaters to produce carbon monoxide during normal operation; amateur installation and un-serviced appliances can introduce the risk of boat users inhaling lethal levels of this toxic gas. The importance of checking the installation and routine servicing of all such devices by a professional cannot be overstated.”
Read the MAIB Safety Bulletin: MAIB Diversion safety bulletin