is our goal to make sure a day on the water is fun and doesn’t
end in a run-in with the law. Accidental or not, under Federal law (the
Oil Pollution Act and the Clean Water Act), it is illegal to discharge
any amount of fuel, oil or other petroleum product into the waters of
the United States.
By law, any oil or fuel spill that leaves a sheen on the water must
be reported to the:
Coast Guard National Response Center at 1-800-424-8802
a small spill can quickly result in a large sheen when combined with
wind and wave action. Legally, you are required to report
all spills, regardless of amount. Civil penalties can be imposed
against anyone failing to report a spill.
It is also against the law to use detergents, soaps, emulsifying agents
or other chemicals to disperse a spill. These products cause the petroleum
to sink, creating even greater environmental damage. While it may only
seem like a small amount, it can permanently contaminate bottom sediments.
Anyone who deliberately applies soap to disperse or hide a sheen is subject
to criminal penalties and high fines.
increase awareness of the issue, boats 26’ and
longer are required to post an oil placard (available at marine supply
stores) near the engine.