Common camping oven could be a carbon-monoxide risk on board

In the Summer issue of PBO, a reader explained how he had made a simple oven from ceramic tiles and aluminium to sit on the top of his stove. This used to be common practice when camping – just insulate a biscuit tin and pop it on the hob – but the basic design needs amending when used on board.

PBO’s gas expert Peter Spreadborough points out that a box closed on all sides except the base can result in the production of carbon monoxide. The flame burns all the oxygen in the box to make carbon dioxide, which may then partly smother the flame. If this happens, carbon monoxide will result as there is insufficient oxygen at the flame for complete combustion. This isn’t a problem in the open air, but in the confined space of a boat could be dangerous.

Peter advises that if you plan to build such an oven, vents should be provided at the top to allow a through draught of air. To avoid heat escaping, a baffle can be added inside the top of the oven to reflect the heat back down into the box. As with all cookers, you should make sure the boat is adequately ventilated, and experts strongly advise that you install both a gas alarm and a carbon monoxide detector.