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Recalls

Important Vessel Recall Information,
All Boat Owners Are Encouraged To Read

UNITED STATES COAST GUARD
Headquarters Public Affairs
Washington, DC 20593
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday February 28, 2001,
Contacts:
Coast Guard Office of Boating Safety -- Mr. Philip Cappel 202-267-0988, Captain Ron Weston 202-267-1077
Coast Guard Public Affairs -- Mr. James O'Dell 202-267-6491

MEDIA ADVISORY

COAST GUARD RECALLS HOUSEBOATS DUE TO CARBON MONOXIDE HAZARD AND CAUTIONS OWNERS/OPERATORS ON DANGERS
On February 23, the Coast Guard began issuing mandatory recall notices to houseboat manufacturers who may have built vessels equipped with swim platforms and electrical generator exhaust systems vented into a stern cavity. This design has been found to permit lethal concentrations of carbon monoxide to build up in the vicinity of the swim platform. The directed recall was addressed to those houseboat manufacturers who had not responded to the Coast Guard's December 21, 2000 letter notifying them of this design defect, which has been linked to a large number of carbon monoxide [CO] poisonings. Six houseboat manufacturers have agreed to voluntarily recall all of their boats with the design problem.
Captain Ron Weston, Chief of the Coast Guard Office of Boating Safety, stressed, "The Coast Guard will leave no stone unturned. We are committed to eliminating this safety defect."
"We have made the manufacturer's aware of the problem, and that venting the generator exhaust through the vessel's side is an approved solution. We expect them to correct the problem quickly. We are in the process of insuring that absolutely all U.S. houseboat manufacturers are aware of this potentially lethal construction design and that they immediately take steps to correct it on boats they built," Captain Weston said.
The Coast Guard noted two major manufacturers, Somerset Custom Houseboat Inc. and Stardust Cruiser Inc. responded quickly to its December 21 letter and are actively engaged in correcting the problem. The six manufacturers conducting voluntary recalls intend to correct
all of their boats with this design defect--notwithstanding the fact that the Coast Guard cannot require them to correct boats over five years old. The companies are cooperating with the Coast Guard to assure that all owners with houseboats with this design are notified of the recall.
Since it will take time to complete the necessary corrections, the Coast Guard invites the media to join with them and the Department of Interior in publicizing this recall. The Coast Guard emphasizes that all boat owners/operators should be alerted to the dangers of carbon monoxide, and any owner of a houseboat with the defective design (see the attached diagram) should exercise special care until the manufacturer corrects the problem.

THE COAST GUARD CAUTIONS HOUSEBOAT OPERATORS

If your houseboat has a swim platform and its electrical generator vents through the transom into a stern cavity, do not run your generator when not underway, if someone is swimming in the rear area or sitting on the stern deck.

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Dangerous levels of carbon monoxide collect beneath the swim platform or above the stern on those houseboats with this design (see attached diagram). Recent data provided the Coast Guard by the Department of Interior and National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health {NIOSH} reveals that the carbon monoxide hazard is greatest when these houseboats are not underway and their electrical generators are running. This safety advisory is in effect until owners or manufacturers have an opportunity to correct the design of the generator system on these vessels. The data from a study at Lake Powell, Arizona, yielded the preliminary evidence supporting the need for the Coast Guard to take action.

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