Clean Boating Tip of the Month – Petroleum Control
Tip #2 – Dealing with Fuel, Oil, and Bilge
Boaters want to recreate and fish in clean waters as much as non-boaters. However, hydrocarbon spills into local waterways can have serious impacts on the environment. One gallon of spilt fuel and contaminate one million gallons of area waterways – this is something boaters need to do everything they can to avoid.
There are several things boaters can do reduce the number, and amount, of fuel spilled.
- Stay with your vessel while fueling – listen, you can hear the gurgling when it is getting close
- Use a vent collector for overflows
- Wipe spills with an absorbent pad or cloth – DO NOT use detergents or soap, this makes the situation worse and is against federal law
- If a fuel spill occurs within a marina, contact marina management immediately
- If fueling a PWC, use some form of containment for spills and wipe with absorbent pads
- Use absorbent pads to clean bilges and place such pads within the bilge over time
- check seals, gaskets, and hoses for leaks
- DO NOT use detergents or soaps to clean bilge – it makes the problem worse and is against federal law
- Consider using oil/water separators in your bilge system
- If trailering your vessel, pull boat plug and discharge bilge in a containment area for this purpose
- Properly dispose of used absorbent pads. If you are in a marina, check with management on how to do this. If at home, many local garages will take your used pads and rags.
Following these tips can help reduce fuel/oil spills in our local waterways.