Oil and Fuel

Oil and fuel can enter the water in a number of ways and a small proportion of this comes from the recreational boating sector.

The fuel and oil used by recreational craft is lighter than crude oil and although these lighter fuels do not have the catastrophic effect of smothering marine life, they are toxic to fish and many other water species. Prolonged exposure can affect reproduction, growth and feeding, even in low concentrations. These toxins can build up in the food chain and eventually find their way into us.

Trying to disperse spilt oil by using detergents exacerbates the problem. Detergents break down oil into smaller particles, which are then able to enter the water column and are more readily available to fish and aquatic life. They can strip the oils from gills making breathing difficult. What’s more, the phosphates in detergents can cause algal blooms which in turn lead to a loss of oxygen and death of aquatic life.

As just one litre of oil can contaminate over one million litres of water, it is important to know what to do in the event of a spill.