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.

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 leaks - fuel or oil, and clean up any fuel or oil in the bilge
  • Never mix detergent with oily bilge water before pumping because most detergents are also contaminants
  • Always keep pieces of sorbent material under your engine and handy to mop up spills. Consider installing a bilge water filter
  • Stop water leaking into your boat to reduce the number of times bilges must be pumped out.

Fuelling (Bunkering) your vessel

  • Estimate the amount of fuel needed before starting
  • Prevent spills by plugging the scuppers with rags when refuelling
  • Have a readily accessible spill kit on board in case of accidental spill
  • Make sure the refuelling process is monitored by an experienced adult during the entire process
  • Whenever possible, refuel using a fuel pump. Use containers to transfer fuel to your boat only when there is no alternative
  • Ensure your engine room bilge is not set to automatic
  • Report any oil spills immediately to 0800 504 639.

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