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Our Fast Track to Cruising® course took place in two portions. The second part, the live-aboard course, presided over by Captain Mike, began rather abruptly. The first thing we did (or perhaps the first thing I remember) is the Captain taking Rebecca, our fellow classmate Ken and I below deck and SCARING us with a “discussion” on the four gasses that can kill you on a boat! By my recollection it involved him shoving our heads into the boat’s bilge, although I know that is a huge exaggeration brought on by the incident’s trauma. 🙂 Later, after consuming a fair amount of alcohol on New Year’s Eve, we all joked about this. One thing is for sure we won’t soon forget the lesson!

Can you guess what the four gasses are?

Bonus marks for telling me the two that are lighter than air. Extra bonus for telling me how we get rid of the dangerous gasses!!!


  1. Looking back at on of your earlier posts..
    Carbon Monoxide
    LNG or natural gas
    How did I do?
    The secret is a bilge blower. Another of the items I am adding this Spring.
    Propane is one I’m familiar with. I installed a “hardwired” propane setup with a 2 burner SS stove last year. Knowing that there are no small propane accidents,the safety equiptment cost more than the propane setup.
    Very cool to see it work properly. Just the fumes from bugspray that drifted in from the companionway set off the ear piercing alarm,bright red light on the panel,and the stove shut down. Perfect.

    • Hey Dan

      You know, your answer had me wondering a bit. I haven’t really thought of this in a while. The actual answer was:


      The first two, being heavier than air, need to be dispersed by a bilge blower, or a manual bilge pump. The latter two are dealt with by simply opening the hatches and letting the place air out.

      Carbon Monoxide would definitely be deadly. I guess the idea was that these first four could be present if you just showed up at your boat. Carbon Monoxide would be created, I assume, by the engine running, and this wouldn’t occur of you weren’t already there.

      I have yet to install a propane detector in our boat, but will be doing to this spring. Yours sounds excellent.

  2. What’s the source of hydrogen? Methane should only be coming from some kind of sewage issue I guess? I’ve never had gasoline on a sailboat. I guess I know why folks like to avoid it if possible.

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