Recreational Vessels

Why am I being warned about potential exposure to chemicals from recreational vessels?


Boats and other recreational vessels can expose you to Proposition 65 listed chemicals through their use and operation, and when they are serviced or maintained.

Image of a recreational vessel being lowered into water



These chemicals include:

  • Carbon monoxide and engine exhaust (gas and diesel), which are produced when engines burn fuel.
  • Lead, which is still allowed in paints used on boats.  In addition to paint, it can be found in brass items, such as railings and steering wheels.  Exposure can occur when individuals touch brass or other lead-containing items and then put their hands in or near their mouths, or come in contact with dust when sanding leaded paint.  Lead can be also found in lead-acid batteries used on boats.

How does exposure to Proposition 65 chemicals occur from recreational vessels?

  • During pregnancy, certain chemicals from recreational vessels can pass from mother to baby.

How can I reduce my potential exposure to Proposition 65 chemicals from recreational vessels?

  • Avoid breathing in exhaust from recreational vessel engines and onboard generators.
    • Try not to idle recreational vehicle engines, where possible.
    • Whenever practical, do not stand, swim or play next to recreational vessel engines and onboard generators when they are running.  Distance yourself from the source of the exhaust.
    • Service the engine of a recreational vessel in a well-ventilated area.  Perform regular maintenance and frequent tune-ups.
  • When refueling your vessel, avoid skin contact with the fuel and stand a few steps away from the nozzle to reduce exposure to any fuel vapors that might be released to the air.
  • Use alternatives to lead paint.
  • If you are repairing a vessel that may have paint that contains lead, use a respirator designed for working with lead paint.  Try to produce as little paint dust as possible.  Use wet sanding instead of dry sanding.  Clean by wet sponging, or mopping, and dispose of paint waste materials properly.
  • Wear gloves, protective clothing and eye protection when servicing or maintaining recreational vessels.
  • Wash your hands before preparing or eating food when working or spending time on a recreational vessel.

For more information:

General Fact Sheets and Resources

Proposition 65

  • California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA)
    Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA)
Posted April 2018

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