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Discharge of Oil and Other Hazardous Substances

It is illegal to discharge oil, oily waste, hazardous substances, or anything else, into or upon the navigable waters and contiguous zones of the U.S.

In the event of a discharge…

If your vessel discharges oil or hazardous substances into the water, Washington law requires that you immediately notify both of these emergency spill agencies (24 hours a day, 7 days a week).

Immediately contact both…

  • The National Response Center at 1-800-424-8802
  • The Washington State Department of Emergency Management at 1-800-258-5990

For information on spill prevention and response, visit

For information on where to recycle oil, call the Department of Ecology, Recycling Hotline at 1-800-732-9253.

Using soap as a dispersant on an oil spill is illegal, and a violator may be fined up to $10,000 per day by the state. Federal fines also may be given.

You are not allowed to dump oil into the bilge of the vessel without means for proper disposal.

You must dispose of oil waste at an approved reception facility. On recreational vessels, a bucket or bailer is adequate for temporary storage prior to disposing of the oil waste at an approved facility.

Required Placard

The Federal Water Pollution Control Act requires that vessels 26 feet or longer display a 5 x 8-inch placard (sign) near the machinery space or at the bilge pump switch, stating the oil discharge prohibition and penalty.

Discharge of Oil Prohibited

Oil discharge placard