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Family urges action after loss of father to 'silent killer'

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CALLS for all boats to have carbon monoxide detectors installed have been backed by the family of an Islander who was poisoned by the ‘silent killer’.

Kenneth Jeffery

And now a marine surveyor and consultant has distributed a safety leaflet to Island chandlers, engineers and boat yards providing tips on protection from the deadly gas.

The calls to action have been made after Kenneth Jeffery was found collapsed on the deck of his boat, Mais Oui, on 16 February. An inquest heard that the 73-year-old died from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Lee Battrick, who completed an accident report on Mr Jeffery’s death, said there were a number of things individuals can do to reduce the risk of being poisoned.

‘Alarms should be fitted on boats because they give some warning. Alarms will pick up the slightest amount of carbon monoxide in the air,’ he said.

‘Maintenance is also key and boat owners must regularly check their engine, exhausts and anything else that is in the confined space which can give off the gas.

‘People should also be cautious about going straight into confined spaces where they see someone unconscious because the level of gas may still be high.’

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include dizziness, headache, nausea, vomiting, fatigue and shortness of breath. Boat owners without carbon monoxide alarms will have no warning if the lethal gas is present in habitable areas because it does not smell, hence its nickname the ‘silent killer’.

Mr Jeffery had years of experience working as a ship’s pilot and spent time in the Merchant Navy.

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His wife of six years and partner of 21 years, Margaret (69), said her husband was a careful man and having an alarm on-board could have prevented his death.

She said: ‘There is every chance that someone would not even know they are taking in the fumes because it happens so quickly.

‘We think there should be a law that makes it a necessary requirement for all boat owners to have carbon monoxide detectors on their boats.

‘The canopy [Mr Jeffery was found under] was tested and we were told that it filled up with carbon monoxide in a matter of minutes.

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‘The only way to know is to install a detector so an alarm goes off if any gas is detected.’

Since Mr Jeffery’s death the family have been contacted by Stephanie Trotter, who provides support to survivors and victims of carbon monoxide poisoning. The UK-based campaigner has joined the family in their call for action.

To view the safety leaflet visit click here.

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