The "Spills aren't Slick" campaign is a joint effort by Washington, California, Oregon and British Columbia to address a significant source of oil and fuel spills: recreational boaters and commercial fishermen. Marinas across the state are posting campaign reminder signs for boaters. The signs also let them know they need to notify authorities if they spill oil or gas in the water.
Scores of leaky gaskets and filters and sloppy fueling practices cause many small spills that add up over time. And unfortunately, the reports that are received from recreational boaters and fishermen are probably just the tip of the iceberg. Many people don't know they are required to report spills, and they don't know that it's as easy as dialing 800-OILS-911.
More than 1,000 blue, black and white signs have been posted at public and private marinas in Washington, the majority in the Puget Sound area.
The toll-free 800-OILS-911 number is prominently displayed on the sign. Using the phone number, people can use it to report oil spills from British Columbia to California. The call goes directly to each state's emergency management division. The intent of the easy-to-remember 800 number is to get people to report a spill while there's still time to minimize the damage.
If you are a boat owner, here are a few things you can do to help prevent spills:
· Shut off all engines during fueling.
· Use an absorbent pad or fuel collar to catch drips.
· Know the fuel capacity of your boat's tank and do not top off. (Maximum 90 percent full.)
· Keep bilges dry and oil free. Avoid oily discharges.
· Use absorbent pads (not soaps) to clean up spills. Soaps and oil are toxic to fish and the environment.
· Recycle used oil and filters.
In addition, boat motors should be tuned up and bilges checked for oil leaks before launching your boat. An oil-absorbent roll in the bilge area will temporarily take care of any oil drips and can be used to catch any fuel before it spills into the water. The oil-absorbent pads and rolls can be purchased at most marina supply stores.
If a spill occurs, stop the flow and warn others in the area immediately. Shut off any ignition sources, including cigarettes, and contain the spill. Then, immediately call 800-OILS-911. By law, ALL spills must be reported.
Learn more at Washington Waters - Ours To Protect.