In the summer of 2019, Krissy and Doug Taylor set out on their family boating trip to Salt Fork State Park. Their kids, 7-year-old son Afton and his younger brother played on deck as they started their journey. Then, tragedy struck.
Afton fell off the boat. After a search, his body was found—an assumed drowning victim. A month later, the official report determined Afton died from carbon monoxide poisoning.
Boating accidents can be complicated. Do not hesitate to seek legal assistance if you or a loved one are a victim. The qualified team of Cleveland boating accident attorneys at Paulozzi LPA can help navigate.
Doug is a firefighter. The couple is seasoned boaters. The boat had been in Doug’s family for 20 years. Everyone in the family is a good swimmer. They followed all the safety precautions. Doug asserted that Afton had “been in the water since he was 6 months old.” So what happened?
Afton had died before he ever fell in the water. As the boat slowly cruised through the no-wake-zone with Afton and his brother dangling their feet over the boat’s back deck, his lungs filled with carbon monoxide being emitted from the boat’s engine.
Officials warn that if an open or mid-engine boat is idling or slow-moving, it is especially dangerous because the exhaust can create a vacuum of toxic fumes radiating from the engine to the back deck or cabin. These toxic gases are colorless and odorless.
The Taylors spent a lot of time on boats, and they had never been warned or even heard of carbon monoxide poisoning being a danger on open waters.
The Taylors can never fill the emptiness left by Afton’s loss. The couple did not want other couples to experience similar tragedies, so they want to warn parents of small children that they should never allow kids in the back of the boat while idling or at slow speeds. Carbon monoxide can poison smaller children at a much faster rate than adults.
It is also important to have a carbon monoxide detector for your boat, especially if you have a small indoor cabin because emitted gases fill up closed spaces “exponentially quicker” than open areas.
The Taylors are also helping to craft an Ohio law for Afton which creates safety and awareness about carbon monoxide poisoning on boats.
They created the website Love Like Afton, an organization spreading information about carbon monoxide poisoning and highlighting acts of kindness in the community.
If you experience the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, get to fresh air, and call 911 immediately. The symptoms may include:
Cleveland’s fleet of boating accident attorneys at Paulozzi LPA know the laws surrounding boating accidents and are here to help. If you or a loved one have been injured due to someone else’s negligence, simply send up the distress flag by contacting us for a free consultation by clicking here or calling us at 888-710-0040.