SEATTLE – Over the past 10 years, more than 19,000 gallons of pollution has been spilled into Puget Sound with 75 percent coming from recreational boaters and commercial fishing vessels.
As part of a summer long education and awareness campaign to prevent small oil spills, a partnership between Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound, Washington Sea Grant, Washington Dept. of Ecology and Washington’s Clean Marina Program, is providing boaters with the oil spill kit, which will be distributed for free by Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotillas during free vessel examinations in Western Washington.
From 2005 to 2014, 1,710 separate individual spills were reported or investigated. Of these, 812 or 47 percent were from recreational vessels and 477 or 28 percent were from commercial fishing vessels. Oil tankers and bulk commercial carriers accounted for 13 total cases or 1 percent of all oil spills during that time.
“Based on oil spill data over the last decade we have learned oil tankers and heavy bulk carriers, on average, spill quantities of pollution measured in mere ounces, however, we have found commercial fishing vessels and recreational vessels to be the largest contributors of oil pollution in our waterways,” said Capt. Joe Raymond, commander Sector Puget Sound and captain of the port. “Because of the large number of vessels in Puget Sound, we have been working with our state and local partners to develop these oil spill kits to increase awareness about oil spills and notification requirements among commercial fishing vessel and recreational boating community.”
The partnership hopes to distribute more than 1,000 free kits throughout Western Washington this summer. Each kit contains two oil-only absorbent pads, one 15” bilge sock, a pair of protective gloves, a trash bag for disposal and literature on reporting and preventing spills. Interested boaters should call John Milczewski at (360) 739-1310 to schedule a free vessel safety examination and receive a free small oil spill response kit from the Coast Guard Auxiliary.
Washington Sea Grant is based at the University of Washington and provides statewide marine research, outreach and education services. The National Sea Grant College Program is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce.