By now everyone is aware of the catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil are entering the Gulf daily, bringing the slick potentially closer to marinas, clubs, boatyards and hundreds of boats. The slick is now being directed toward Louisiana but changes in weather could threaten Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.
Meanwhile, the ongoing oil spill resulting from last week’s explosion and sinking of the British Petroleum (BP) drill rig in the Gulf of Mexico has recreational boaters wondering what, if anything, they can do to prevent damage to their boats should the slick come ashore.
What can you do to protect your boat?
The Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) recommends the following tips for recreational boaters:
- If your marina or boat club puts oil containment booms in place, do not attempt to cross the booms with your boat. This will only spread the oil and damage the booms or possibly your vessel’s running gear.
- If there is oil in your marina, refrain from running engines or other devices that have seawater intakes such as air conditioners or refrigerators.
- Hauling out your boat will prevent damage, but it is not clear if these costs will be reimbursed by British Petroleum (BP).
- If the spill is sighted coming toward your marina or already there, call the BP Community Information Hotline at 866-448-5816 to make a report.
- If your boat comes in contact with the oil, call your insurance company to file a claim. Uninsured boaters can call the BP Hotline at 800-440-0858 to file a claim.
- Damage to a BoatUS insured’s vessel that is caused by the oil spill is covered. BoatUS members are directed to call 800-937-1937 to file a claim.