Prevent Spill While Fueling Your Boat

How to prevent – and clean up – fuel spills on the water.

Fueling accidents account for many marina spills. Avoid distractions such as taking calls (a safety hazard itself) while fueling your boat.

In the water, they look like shimmering rainbow patterns that to the unaware might appear beautiful. They are not. Those tie-dye patterns are the result of foul-smelling fuel from spills or oil from bilges that plague busy marinas. “Any discharge of oil or fuel, even a drop, that creates a sheen, sludge or emulsion on the surface or beneath the water is considered harmful and requires a call to the National Response Center,” says Chief Luke Potter, who heads the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Boston’s Incident Management Division.

Fortunately, it’s easy to prevent or reduce a spill with products that make fueling and bilge discharge cleaner. We talked to experts about oil spill reporting, picked up tips to head off common causes, and learned how boat owners can lessen the impact if they do spill fuel or oil.

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