An Arizona (AZ) family who had rented a houseboat for a vacation on Lake Powell is claiming that a range of onboard generator, maintenance and gas detector problems led to the carbon monoxide poisoning death of the 62-year-old father. According to a report in the Deseret News, the Howeth family has filed suit against “Aramark Corp., which rented the boat …; Twin Anchors Marine Ltd., which made the boat; Centek Industries Inc., which manufactured a part in the generator; Marine Technologies, which made the carbon monoxide detectors; and Westerbeke Corp., which manufactured the generator.”

The 62-year-old Howeth apparently suffered a heart attack when the houseboat’s cabin filled with carbon monoxide. Other members of the family said they suffered less severe symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, ranging from vomiting and headaches to confusion and chest pains.

Carbon monoxide buildup inside houseboats and other boats with engines has long been recognized as a serious threat to people’s health. The U.S. Coast Guard warns boaters that they can easily mistake carbon monoxide poisoning for seasickness and advises boaters to never switch on a motor or generator without ensuring they have working gas detectors and clear exhaust vents. Running engines while tied up to a dock, near another boat or beside a seawall also puts boaters — and houseboat dwellers in particular — for carbon monoxide poisoning.

Most people who go out on the water recognize and accept risks such as drowning, capsizing and getting caught in rough weather. The incident in Arizona should wake boaters, boat makers and boat operators up about other dangers.