Skip to main content

A Mother’s Mission


Cassi Free of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, didn’t know what happened when her 9-year-old son, Andy, crawled to the stern of their boat, lost consciousness and fell into the water.

Andy’s official cause of death was drowning, but what caused him to fall into the water was acute carbon monoxide toxicity and his mother wants boaters to know of its dangers. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are headaches, nausea and dizziness. Andy’s two brothers had those symptoms, but they were admitted to the hospital and recovered.

According to a CDC and OSHA study there were more than 800 boating-related poisonings between 2000 and 2014, 140 of which resulted in death.

Boating slowly, idling, or back drafting can cause carbon monoxide to collect inside cabins or around the stern of the boat. That is where Andy had been sitting and where he got what is called open-air carbon monoxide toxicity. An autopsy showed that his carbon monoxide level was 72 percent.

To prevent another tragedy from occurring, Free is asking boat docks and marinas to post signs to raise awareness and that manufacturers give better recall notices.

“He was the kid that was going to grow up and change the world," she said about Andy. "But we’d like to think that he’s still going to change the world.”



A Record 1,101 Florida Manatees died in 2021

At least 100 deaths were due to watercraft injury. Here’s what boaters can do to help prevent manatee deaths


Peter Warner, Who Discovered Shipwrecked Boys, Dies at 90

The son of one of Australia’s wealthiest men, he ran off to sea at a young age and twice rescued marooned sailors


A Capsize and a Quick Rescue

When the 1906 schooner Mary E capsized last week, putting many of its passengers in Maine’s Kennebec River, quick action saved the day


An Amazing Rescue

Forty miles off the North Carolina coast, a father and son use a lifetime of boating experience to rescue a solo boater who’d fallen off his moving boat


A Faster Hampton

The Pulsifer Hampton’s builder teams up with a designer from a legendary boatbuilding and designing family to create a faster version of the classic wooden dayboat.


Onne’s New Goose: A New Windlass and Anchor

Onne replaces the old Vetus windlass with a Lofrans and the CQR anchor with a Mantus. A new rode and chain top off the package


One Cool Cat

We test the world’s first all-electric bareboat catamaran during a cruise through the British Virgin Islands.


A Whale of a Picture

A photographer captures a breaching whale as it nearly crushes a catamaran off the coast of Hawaii