4.1F – Marina Siting and Design – Fueling Station Management

Management Measure

Design existing and proposed fueling stations to allow for spill prevention and for ease in cleanup of spills that may occur.

Management Practices

Boaters should keep engines properly tuned for efficient fuel consumption and clean exhaust. Avoid overfilling gas tanks, and listen for splashbacks just in case the shutoff nozzle does not work in time. Always keep an absorbent pad ready in case of spills.

Train employees to give information and direction to customers before they begin fueling. Don’t take it for granted that boaters know the correct fueling procedures. Install easy-to-read signs on the fuel dock that explain proper fueling, spill prevention, and spill reporting procedures, especially at self-serve facilities.

  • Site Design
    Locate and design boat fueling stations so that spills can be contained, such as with a floating boom, and cleaned up easily. This usually means locating them away from clutter in areas where spill cleanup will not cause traffic problems.
  • Spill Prevention
    Remove old-style fuel nozzle triggers that are used to hold the nozzle open. Install automatic shutoff systems on fuel nozzles. They help keep spills small and prevent tanks from overfilling. In addition, use a spill monitoring system that will shut off the main line when a leak is sensed. Install personal watercraft floats at fuel docks to help drivers stabilize their boats and refuel without spilling. Regularly inspect, maintain, and replace fuel hoses, pipes, and tanks. A small leak can mean a big spill, so check your system often.
  • Spill Response
    Create an emergency spill response plan for containment and cleanup. Make sure to post readable directions for spill response, because in an emergency situation it is important to know exactly what to do. Have spill containment equipment storage, such as a locker attached to the fuel dock, easily accessible and clearly marked. Be prepared for over-spill and excess fuels–keep absorbent pads on hand. If there is an oil spill, call the Coast Guard (Telephone: 1-800-424-8802).


  • California Office of Spill Prevention and Response (OSPR) includes a Marine Safety Branch, which works to protect marine resources by developing and maintaining spill prevention measures and response plans. The OSPR requires that all marine facilities and tank vessels carrying petroleum product as cargo, as well as all nontank vessels over 300 gross tons, have California-approved oil spill contingency plans.
  • Marina Fueling Facilities Project is a component of the California SWRCB’s Underground Storage Tank Program. The program administers guidelines and performs inspections for the design and construction of fuel storage, piping, and dispensing systems in marinas.
  • Pacific Oil Spill Prevention Education Team (POSPET) is a forum for information exchange among various stakeholder groups in British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, and California pertaining to oil spills. POSPET has developed a Spills Aren’t Slick campaign and has also been instrumental in promoting the innovative 1-800-OILS-911 spill reporting number in the Pacific states and British Columbia. This easy-to-remember number allows a boater reporting an oil spill to be automatically routed to the correct emergency response call center in any of those jurisdictions. The Pacific States/BC Oil Spill Task Force provides staff support for POSPET and maintains the spill reporting number.

Information Resources


USEPA. 2001. National Management Measures Guidance to Control Nonpoint Source Pollution from Marinas and Recreational Boating. EPA 841-B-01-005. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC.

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