How Small Vessels Can Prevent Oil Spills

The most common causes of small scale oil spills are from bilge discharge and refueling, where oil builds up along the water underneath the boat and pumped outwards. Boaters who want to practice environmental stewardship can use preventative tactics to avoid committing a spill. Measures to keep a vessel in shape and halt spills before they happen include:

  • Replacing worn out or cracked fittings and hydraulic lines
  • Tightening engine bolts to prevent leaks
  • Getting a drip pan or oil tray for your engine
  • Avoiding spillage when refueling by leaving room for fuel expansion
  • Preventing oily-water discharge by using bilge socks from oil absorbent pads
  • Turning off bilge pump when refueling (turn it back on when done)
  • Using a fuel collar or absorbent pads to catch drips
  • Avoiding overflow by knowing how much your tank can hold
  • Prioritizing the health of wildlife and habitats by notifying dock staff, state spill response office, or Coast Guard about a spill

Even small oil spills can result in terrible consequences for the species and people that reside in the area. Despite taking the precautions listed above, oil accidents can still happen. It’s imperative that those who unintentionally spill oil into natural bodies of water alert appropriate authorities so they can begin clean up strategies to reduce environmental impact.

As the oil spill cleanup team at Nielsen Environmental has assisted with before, sometimes small vessels accidentally cause an oil spill. It’s important to respond with integrity and responsibility by contacting clean up professionals immediately.