Oil spills

Each year more than 30 diesel and oil spills are reported around the Northland coastline. Most are quite small, but they can still pollute our coastline and kill birds, fish and shellfish.

Refuelling station. Refuelling station at Totara North.

Prevent fuel and oil spills

Any spills of fuel or oil from your boat should be cleaned up with special sorbent material, which can be bought from boat chandlers and marine suppliers. A small pad soaks up a large amount of oil, and can be reused. Any oil should be disposed of by a specialist waste management company or at a waste oil reception facility at your marina.

You should:

  • Check the engine for leaking fuel or oil, and clean up any fuel or oil floating on the bilge water.
  • Stop water leaking into your boat, to reduce the number of times you have to pump out bilges.
  • Never mix detergent with oily bilge water before pumping as most detergents are also contaminants.
  • Always keep a piece of sorbent material under your engine and handy to mop up spills. Consider installing a bilge water filter.
  • Prevent spills by plugging the scuppers with rags when refuelling.
  • Estimate the amount of fuel needed.
  • Make sure the entire refuelling process is monitored by an experienced adult.
  • Whenever possible, refuel using a fuel pump and aim to avoid transferring fuel to your boat in containers.

Report oil or fuel spills to the Northland Regional Council's 24/7 Environmental hotline on 0800 504 639.