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Medical oxygen on boats.


Karma Dreams
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Hi all.. First of all I hope that I've posted on right forum!

I thought I'd ask on here if anyone is or knows, someone who has to use this to maintain their breathing.  I am a sufferer OF COPD and have had it now for number of years and in January got an infection that resulted in an extreme exasperation as classed by the respiratory team who took care of me.  Now, the question is, as I have to drag a cylinder around on this trolley is there another way of maintaining the joys of boating which I've managed over the many years with something more compact and usable if you follow?  I did try and explain to the team my concerns and my leisure activities with the boat.  But by the look on his face I know he hadn't a clue of what I was explaining about locks and dragging a trolley complete with with oxygen cylinder around with me.b

I'm sure there must be other boaters like me out there, who cope with this condition, and manage their boating with something more manageable?? If so, please help if possible in pointing me in a direction.  As always guys and gals thanks in advance.  

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You can certainly get small cylinders that can be carried in a shoulder bag/back pack, may be feasible for use at locks?

 

Somethinh like this?

 

Portable_Oxygen_Tanks_And_Health_Conditi

Edited by NickF
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When flying, we used a small oxygen cylinder (about the size of a 2kg fire extinguisher) - I see no reason why you could not use similar with either a 'shoulder strap' or, maybe incorporated into a small shoulder bag / rucksack.

 

In fact - thinking about it - there is a 'medical-oxygen' cylinder of about the same size in the De-Fib bag we had.

I am sure something can be done - go 'mobile' when locking, and 'plug into' a  large cylinder when on the boat. I imagine the only problem will be getting refills.

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And you can get cylinders made from lightweight materials such as aluminium, carbon fibre or Kevlar. So I don't think a portable cylinder is an issue, but as said filling it might be. Oxygen remains in a gaseous state even under extreme compression so the only way to fill a cylinder (without plant) is by means of another larger cylinder at higher pressure.

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Oxygen on a boat is not without hazards.  A leak, undetected, could turn the boat into a bomb.  When the O2 content is raised, ordinary materials, such as clothing, become very flammable.  I think it would be wise to get expert advice; an O2 alarm would be essential, but I don't know where you could get one at reasonable cost.  I guess tiny cylinders would be ok but bulk cylinders should be treated just like flammable gasses.  As everyone will tell you, oxygen is not flammable, but that does not make it safe.  I have had to stress this to doctors on ships who thought it did not carry risks. (from leaks).  Grease must not be used on couplings or fittings as this can cause an explosion.

Edited by mross
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We carry O2 on the lifeboats in easily portable bottles.

as has been said, no grease and although not flammable will make fires terribly spectacular and the bottles could still let go like other pressurised containers.

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Indeed, but people have these things in a number of evnironments. Mum had oxygen enrichment for the last ten months of her life and whilst I don't think she got on a boat there was never any suggestion she shouldn't. Dad told the house and car insurance companies and we had portable cylinders for days out in the car. At home, mum had oxygen enrichment machines and a very large cylinder to cover a power cut.

Whilst mum was in this condition the only boat I owned as at the other end of the country and completely unsuitable for Dad to get on and off (mum would have been fine), also mum went off long distance travel, even though the health service had a mechanism for this. They would, for example, have arranged for a machine and cylinders at a hotel if they had gone on holiday in the UK. I'd suggest you talk to the service provider

If a cylinder was used, it was given back to Air Liquide who exchanged it for another one - self refill was not an option

Mum was advised not to use a gas cooker with her mask on however... 

 

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45 minutes ago, mross said:

Oxygen on a boat is not without hazards.  A leak, undetected, could turn the boat into a bomb.  When the O2 content is raised, ordinary materials, such as clothing, become very flammable.  I think it would be wise to get expert advice; an O2 alarm would be essential, but I don't know where you could get one at reasonable cost.  I guess tiny cylinders would be ok but bulk cylinders should be treated just like flammable gasses.  As everyone will tell you, oxygen is not flammable, but that does not make it safe.  I have had to stress this to doctors on ships who thought it did not carry risks. (from leaks).  Grease must not be used on couplings or fittings as this can cause an explosion.

I think an O2 alarm might need regular battery changes - since it would be sounding all the time!

A leak would turn a boat into a bomb only if it was already loaded with a large quantity of TNT! Or a very fast leak. After all, in use the oxygen is designed to "leak" into the user's lungs and most of it then "leaks" into the surroundings. It is not like a leak of LPG in that it is not heavier than air and you would need a very fast leak and very poor ventilation to raise the O2 level in a boat significantly.

Oxygen at high pressure is of course a slightly different thing and as you suggest, can cause spontaneous combustion of carbon based things such as grease. But I would imagine that portable medical stuff has no-tools couplings with O rings etc and there will be warnings against grease.

35 minutes ago, mross said:

Read about the oxygen-fuelled fire which killed Grissom, White and Chaffee in Apollo 1 http://www.space.com/17338-apollo-1.html

I may have missed it but I don't think the OP was planning on going into space.

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You have chosen to completely diss what I have said.  An oxygen alarm could be set at 25% and would not 'go off all the time'.  If you had a large, medical oxygen cylinder in your boat and it leaked, you could easily get O2 levels that were dangerous.  Apollo 1 was an extreme example as the atmosphere was pure O2 at 16.7psi but any level above the normal 21% does lead to a raised fire or explosion risk.  Why do you need TNT to make an oxygen high atmosphere explosive?

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7 hours ago, Karma Dreams said:

 Now, the question is, as I have to drag a cylinder around on this trolley is there another way of maintaining the joys of boating

Its really going to depend on your usual consumption requirement and what you are hoping to do.  We had to escort a patient on a 4 hour flight and ended up using the aircraft's entire stock of O2 cylinders (3 (B) of them) but his requirement was 8L/min whereas yours I would suspect is no more than around 2L/min.  At this rate the very small medical cylinders should last you about ½ an hour - just enough time to do a lock, or an hour if you go for the next size up.  Any bigger than that and it's probably too heavy and awkward to carry. 

Edited by JJPHG
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46 minutes ago, mross said:

You have chosen to completely diss what I have said.  An oxygen alarm could be set at 25% and would not 'go off all the time'.  If you had a large, medical oxygen cylinder in your boat and it leaked, you could easily get O2 levels that were dangerous.  Apollo 1 was an extreme example as the atmosphere was pure O2 at 16.7psi but any level above the normal 21% does lead to a raised fire or explosion risk.  Why do you need TNT to make an oxygen high atmosphere explosive?

Yes. Because I think you are being over-dramatic and scaremongering. A boat has a lot of fixed ventilation so when you try to compare it with a space ship, you just sound silly. An oxygen high atmosphere at normal pressure isn't explosive.

Of course, an oxygen-rich atmosphere will support combustion much more readily than normal air and thus, for instance, smoking in bed whilst breathing pure oxygen would be a bad idea (although if you have breathing difficulties so you require oxygen and yet still smoke cigarettes, perhaps you deserve to come to a sticky end!). But these issues apply to the use of oxygen anywhere. I suggest that the confines of a fairly small bedroom with windows closed and no fixed ventilation other than a few leaks around the doors and windows, presents the same or worse risk as a boat with its plethora of fixed ventilation.

Therefore there is no need to try to scare the OP with tales of explosive atmospheres and space travel.

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5 minutes ago, nicknorman said:

I suggest that the confines of a fairly small bedroom with windows closed and no fixed ventilation other than a few leaks around the doors and windows, presents the same or worse risk as a boat with its plethora of fixed ventilation.

Therefore there is no need to try to scare the OP with tales of explosive atmospheres and space travel.

I agree.  The patient I mentioned in my earlier post had exactly this setup without the need for any special precautions (except the naked flame near the cylinder bit).  

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I deal with oxygen bottles on a day to day basis on aircraft.

The main concern when filling a small bottle, apart from "NO GREASE or OIL", from a high pressure one is heat. Fill slowly using a regulator and monitor the temperature of the bottle with a hand. If it starts to feel warm, stop and let it cool before continuing.

Strangely, we are allowed to fill the fixed, crew bottles, but the portable ones in the cabin used for unwell passengers have to be sent away for filling.

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19 minutes ago, dixi188 said:

I deal with oxygen bottles on a day to day basis on aircraft.

The main concern when filling a small bottle, apart from "NO GREASE or OIL", from a high pressure one is heat. Fill slowly using a regulator and monitor the temperature of the bottle with a hand. If it starts to feel warm, stop and let it cool before continuing.

Strangely, we are allowed to fill the fixed, crew bottles, but the portable ones in the cabin used for unwell passengers have to be sent away for filling.

Why stop filling if (when) the bottle gets warm? Warm oxygen in the cylinder will just result in less mass of oxygen, but might as well leave the filling tap open whilst the oxygen temperature reduces with concomitant slow flow of oxygen into the cylinder, presuming the source is pressure regulated or otherwise below the destination cylinder working pressure limit.

Edited by nicknorman
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I may be over dramatic but I wanted the OP to be aware that medical oxygen does carry some risks.  Here is a leaflet from BOC where it states that you should not enter a space if the O2 level is 22% or more.  http://www.boconline.co.uk/en/sheq/gas-safety/gas-risks/oxygen-gas-risks/oxygen-gas-risks.html 

another leaflet states that levels as low as 24% are dangerous.  http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg459.pdf

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Quote

Why stop filling if (when) the bottle gets warm? Warm oxygen in the cylinder will just result in less mass of oxygen, but might as well leave the filling tap open whilst the oxygen temperature reduces with concomitant slow flow of oxygen into the cylinder, presuming the source is pressure regulated or otherwise below the destination cylinder working pressure limit.

Well, having seen the result of a cock up during oxygen charging that caused a fire and a repair bill of over £1,000,000 in the 1970s, I will follow our guidelines, "Keep It Cool".

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17 minutes ago, dixi188 said:

Well, having seen the result of a cock up during oxygen charging that caused a fire and a repair bill of over £1,000,000 in the 1970s, I will follow our guidelines, "Keep It Cool".

High pressure oxygen is of course quite dangerous, but the "cock up" you mention won't have been a result of allowing an oxygen cylinder to get hot. If you want to follow guidelines based on no science that's fine, and aviation is full of such things as it avoids having to actually think about it. But hopefully you won't mind if I point out the flaws in your beliefs. In my view one should concentrate on the actual risks, not the perceived ones.

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Thank you all sooo much for your professional input..much appreciated, your comments noted.  I dId email BSS to check my status regarding medical oxygen onboard boat, as I did think that this would invalidate my BSS cert! Had a nice reply informing me that this would NOT be the case as long as I was aware (which I am) of the safety issues involved. So sigh of relief as didn't want to leave the cut behind.

Obviously on here there's experienced people knowing about smaller devices than the one I've got here at home. Now, thankfully I've been assessed with only needing oxy when 1. Walking or 2. When exerting myself (which wud be locking), on setting 2 or 3 max.   I've been expressly told NOT to use oxy whilst sitting still too, presumably because my sats then are, or have, returned to normal. I do not need to use it whilst sleeping either. So this us why I'm looking for a mobile unit and where's the best place to enquire?  I've asertained that the oxy Co I use at home cannot supply me away from here, I would need another Co near to my boat to deliver new cylinders...which there again is awkward if out cruising on the cut and away from moorings!  As this us ALL very new to me it's difficult to 'see through the trees' for an answer, but I'm confident there must be an answer. I will put up a pic (if I can achieve how to), of my device on trolley so you can see how inappropriate this would be carting about 'locking'

20170320_150704.jpg

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22 hours ago, nicknorman said:

And you can get cylinders made from lightweight materials such as aluminium, carbon fibre or Kevlar. So I don't think a portable cylinder is an issue, but as said filling it might be. Oxygen remains in a gaseous state even under extreme compression so the only way to fill a cylinder (without plant) is by means of another larger cylinder at higher pressure.

1

Actually, aluminium cylinders are larger and heavier than steel cylinders.  Aluminium is not as strong and the walls need to be a lot thicker.  And medical oxygen IS available as a liquid, in insulated flasks, but has the disadvantage that it will slowly vent as the pressure rises, especially when not in use.  The flasks are bulky.

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1 hour ago, mross said:

Actually, aluminium cylinders are larger and heavier than steel cylinders.  Aluminium is not as strong and the walls need to be a lot thicker.  And medical oxygen IS available as a liquid, in insulated flasks, but has the disadvantage that it will slowly vent as the pressure rises, especially when not in use.  The flasks are bulky.

No, aluminium cylinders are larger but aren't heavier than steel ones. Hard to compare like with like but try here, same volume and pressure for 2 cylinders, one steel one aluminium, but the ali one is a lot lighter. This is why planes tend to be made of aluminium (alloy, of course) not steel!

https://www.weinmann-emergency.com/downloads/advertising_material/O2_cylinders_overview-EN.pdf

As to liquid oxygen, more appropriate for your spaceship than to the OP.

 

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