Does your boat have any foam insulation? Has your boat got a decorative foam backed vinyl stuck on the deckheads and bulkheads, 2 part foam, or sprayed foam?
The moment this foam starts to powder you are in danger of killing yourself or your crew.
The foam in question is a polyurethane foam, it is the only foam that powders. It is broken down into a fine powder through heat and moisture, just what boats in the tropics encounter. It is only a matter of time before this happens.
This powder is highly toxic as are urethane paints.
The chemicals used to make urethane products are:
· Methyl Isocyanate (responsible for the Bohpal disaster, used for pesticides)
· Hexamethylene Diisocyanate
· 3-Chloro-4-Methyl Phenyl Isocyanate
· Isophorone Diisocyanate
· Methylene Bisphenyl Isocyanate
How do I know that this is toxic?
I was unaware of the toxicity of this foam and when I was delivering a Prout Snowgoose 37 from the Canaries to Cape Town the foam backed vinyl that was stuck all over the deckheads and bulkheads started to powder and fall down. It was cosmetic not structural so I did not think it serious.
I ended up with severe edema of the complete respiratory tract and was unable to breath properly for 3 weeks, the 3 crew all had different symptoms and all were affected. Not bad - 100% hit rate.
The boat was eventually abandoned and we were rescued by a Spanish longliner, a Korean car carrier and the Brazilians, all of whom were fantastic, and to whom we owe our lives. The boat was lost. I ended up in hospital for 10 days on cortisones, antihistamines, and having my lungs washed out. The medical staff at the hospital were super I could not have asked for better treatment.
We all still suffer from side effects and pollution makes our lives miserable as the problems come back.
Loraine Cooks had the same problem on her steel boat with the hard version of the foam and got severe dermatitis which, continued for 3 months, and with other symptoms after leaving the boat. She still suffers outbreaks - even synthetic clothing materials cause a breakout. The sad thing is that I warned her husband and not only did he not remove the substance from their boat but he did not tell her. She nearly died as a result. If I had not had to go into Richards Bay on a trip she would have.
Put your hand over your mouth and block your nose so you can only just breath, then put yourself in the middle of the ocean for 3 weeks or get a severe skin rash all over yourself for 3 months, its fun try it.
Severe sinusitis, flu type symptoms, itchy eyes and eye damage, sinus, coughs, asthma, reduced respiratory capacity, headache, nausea (mistaken for seasickness), vomiting and irritability, pulmonary edema, phlegm, fatigue, allergic reactions, kidney and liver damage loss of memory and concentration, cancer, miscarriages, birth defects and death are all caused by these toxins. The effects can be both acute and chronic and once sensitized you will have problems for the rest of your life and be in danger of death if exposed again.........
For the full report
by Meme Grant, RYA instructor, examiner Ocean Yachtmaster motor and sail, SAS Ocean motor and sail, SAMSA unlimited motor and sail, ASA Cruising Instructor (30 years of professional ocean going experience) go to: