Did you know that oil in bilge water can have major impacts on the marine environment?

Boats in the MarinaDiesel and gas are toxic, but lubricant and hydraulic oils can also cause damage.

When major oil spills happen in the harbor or ocean, authorities are quick to respond to clean these up. But small spills from careless refueling or pumping oily bilge water overboard can have negative effects on the marine environment.

Sometimes it’s difficult to avoid oil being discharged with bilge water, it’s still necessary to be vigilant. There are a number of ways to make sure oil leakages into the harbor and ocean waters are reduced.

  • Maintain the boat engine so that it does not leak oil or fuel.
  • Make sure rain or sea water doesn’t  leak into the boat, then there is less need to pump out any water.
  • Keep a drip tray under the engine and have absorbent material (newspaper, rags or paper towels in an emergency) on hand to soak up accidental leaks.
  • Soak up any floating oil with absorbent material before pumping the bilge.
  • Always use an enzyme-based bilge cleaner which is less polluting.  Don’t mix detergent with oily bilge water, this can be more toxic than oil alone, and is much more difficult to clean up.
  • Make sure there is no floating oil in the bilges if you have an automatic bilge pump.
  • If you have a bigger boat, install a bilge water filter that will help remove most contaminants.
  • Do not pump oily bilge water overboard – use a marine bilge pump out service (where available).

Many marinas and ports have facilities where old bilge water can be disposed of properly.

Newmarks’ takes pride in being a Green Marina. Please dispose of old bilge water properly and report any spills. The sooner they are reported, the better chance there is of minimizing damage to our marine environment.