Oil and Fuel

Advice on oil and fuel safety and dealing with spills.

Oil and fuel contain hydrocarbons and heavy metals which can not only affect human health but can also seriously damage our aquatic environment.

Only 5% of oil and fuel pollution in the water is from catastrophic spills, with the majority coming from everyday sources such as refuelling, engine emissions and oil leaks.

Oil spills are one of the most easily identifiable forms of pollution in the aquatic environment. Odour and iridescence (rainbow effect) are reliable clues for a spill. Small amounts of oil can contaminate large areas of water whilst larger spills on land can cause tonnes of contaminated soil. The containment of spilt oil can prevent financial, legislative and environmental implications.

Small craft tend to spill small amounts of refined petroleum products repeatedly, often in marinas and harbours. These may have poor water circulation and water may be agitated by propellers and hull movements that disperse spills into the water column. It can be assumed that oil spills from re-fuelling and maintenance operations are likely to be more common in marinas, and that this may contribute to an accumulation of pollutants in the surrounding sediments.  However, boat owners can take simple precautions to minimise accidental releases by carefully refuelling and maintaining their engines so they operate efficiently.

To find out more about how to prevent oil and fuel spills from your boat visit The Green Blue website where you will find plenty of tips and advice and practical information on this topic.