Thursday, November 17, 2011
What Happens If You Have an Oil Spill?
On Monday, I posted about used engine oil, the sexiest of all boat topics, but a comment got me thinking about a couple of things that just don't mix well - oil and water. This sounds a bit unbelievable, but if you spill just a teaspoon of oil in the marina, it can spread across the water's surface for half an acre. And depending on where you live, it can take a really long time for that oil to break down. Here in the Gulf, there are bacteria the gobble it up to some degree, but needless to say the Coast Guard takes this stuff very seriously.
How seriously, you may wonder? Well, a friend of ours went out of town for the weekend, and his engine leaked fuel into the bilge. The bilge pumps then pumped the fuel overboard, and his neighbor awoke on a Saturday morning to the furtive knocking of the marina's harbor master and a wall of Coast Guard officials wondering whether or not BP had been drilling in the area. The marina then put booms around our friend's boat to contain the fuel, and the Coast Guard threatened to fine him $40,000 a day. He escaped with a warning, but obviously the Coast Guard is not particularly forgiving when it comes to oil spills. Hence the marina having a used oil receptacle for its tenants.