Most people think of carbon monoxide poisoning as coming from automobile exhaust or faulty heating systems and indeed much of it does come from those sources. However, in the summer time houseboats can become a significant source of injury and death from this lethal poison gas.
Many houseboats are designed with gasoline powered generators in addition to the gasoline engines that run the boats. The generators are used to operate the air conditioning and lights on the boat. The generator is usually located below water level and emits exhaust out the side of the boat near the deck on the stern of the boat. Many deaths have occurred as a result of adults and children swimming in the area near or beneath the deck where they can be exposed to lethal concentrations of carbon monoxide in less than a minute. Renters of houseboats have also been poisoned inside the boat while sleeping with the air conditioner on.