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. Pleasure craft tend to carry light weight petroleum products rather than heavy crude oil and even though an incident caused by a small boat would not have the catastrophic effect of smothering wildlife, these refined oils can be are more toxic than crude oil. When these enter the water they can be absorbed by shell fish and small marine organisms and the toxins accumulate in the food chain causing physiological and reproductive defects, reduced growth and feeding, deformity, cancers, mutations and ecological changes in many marine species.

The use, transport and storage of oils and fuels are regulated and it is important that all sailing facilities understand their legal responsibilities. The RYA's  Environment and Sustainability team can help on environment@rya.org.uk