- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 24, 2003

The U.S. Coast Guard says there is growing evidence that carbon monoxide-related illnesses, injuries and fatalities on the water are far greater than previously believed.

With that in mind, and with the Fourth of July weekend looming, the Coast Guard asks that all boaters take special care.

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless, tasteless and highly toxic gas produced by burning fuels that operate boat engines, generators and even camping stoves. While some boaters are aware that carbon monoxide can accumulate inside engine compartments, few realize that the gas can also pool in deadly concentrations outside the boat — around engine and generator exhaust outlets, under and around swim platforms, occasionally even in an open cabin when conditions are right.

“We’ve had some tragic accidents involving carbon monoxide,” said Capt. Scott Evans, chief of the Coast Guard’s Office of Boating Safety. “The reason they are tragic is that virtually all injuries and fatalities involving carbon monoxide are preventable.”

Boaters should know where exhaust outlets for the engines and generator are and keep everyone clear. They should also understand how and when CO begins to accumulate. For example, when slow speeds and following winds create a backdraft, it can draw CO into a boat’s cabin. The Coast Guard also points out that whenever you suffer from headaches, dizziness and nausea, treat it like CO poisoning until another cause can be identified.

Of course, this is addressed to the bigger boats with cabins and under-the-deck-mounted engine(s), not bass boats and smaller outboard motor craft many local fishermen use. However, even they can be a problem if they’re allowed to idle in neutral for any length of time inside a closed boat house.

To learn more about deadly CO and its relationship to recreational boating, visit www.uscgboating.org, or call the boating safety hotline, 800/368-5647.

$200,000 for catching bass — Bass fishing pro Aaron Martens of Castaic, Calif., collected $200,000 last Saturday when he won the $1million Forrest Wood Open tournament on Alabama’s Wheeler Lake. Martens caught 10 bass in two days that weighed 25 pounds, 10 ounces to claim his first win in a regular season Wal-Mart FLW Tour event.

Martens finished a mere 11 ounces ahead of second-place finisher Timmy Horton of Muscle Shoals, Ala., who got a check for $100,000. With his finish Martens advanced 30 spots in the point standings to rank 30th on the 2003 FLW Tour, good enough to earn him an invitation to the $1.5million championship in September.

In third place was Keith Williams of Conway, Ark. (10 bass, 24 pounds, 7 ounces, $50,000); fourth spot belonged to Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Mich. (10 bass, 24 pounds, 1 ounce, $35,000); followed by Scott Martin of Clewiston, Fla. (10 bass, 18 pounds, 13 ounces, $30,000). Martin is the son of tournament fishing legend and TV fishing host, Roland Martin.

Patuxent oyster closure — The Maryland Department of Natural Resources proposes that a section of the Patuxent River in Calvert County be permanently closed to shellfish harvest to establish an oyster sanctuary. The proposed closure goes into effect Monday. The 28-acre site is in the vicinity of the Kitts Marsh oyster bar and the closure has been coordinated with local county oyster committees.

Look for Gene Mueller’s Outdoors column every Sunday and Wednesday and his Fishing Report every Thursday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail: gmueller@washingtontimes.com.

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