Safe Refuelling

Refuelling your boatclean-boating – Every drop counts!



Marlborough Sounds Marinas were the first marinas in New Zealand to be accredited with “Clean Marinas” status through the NZ Clean Marinas programme. The Clean Marina programme is industry-led and developed by the New Zealand Marina Operators Association. It encourages marina operators, boatyards, contractors and recreational boaters to do their part to protect coastal and inland water quality by engaging in environmentally sound best management practices such as regular boat engine inspection and maintenance, proper waste disposal and reduction of discharge. These practices once implemented, contribute to safer, cleaner marinas, as well as cleaner waterways.
We support this fully – and we know that one of the points of potential pollution in our marinas can be at the fuel jetties – so assisting our berth holders and boat owners to learn how to refuel their vessels safely is important in helping us keep the marinas and waterways clean.
Every year hundreds of diesel and oil spills pollute our harbours and coastline. Most are quite small, but even small amounts of fuel and oil can be fatal to birds and marine life and cause damage to the environment.
Because most of these spills are of very light oil, they quickly spread out into a thin film.

Most oil and fuel spills can be contributed to careless refuelling or pumping oily bilge water overboard.


– A single litre of fuel can contaminate over a million litres of water.

– One litre of used oil can form a 4000 m2 slick

– Oil is toxic to fish and water species. Prolonged exposure affects reproduction, growth and feeding of aquatic life, even at low concentrations.

– The majority of oil pollution in our rivers and oceans comes from everyday sources like refuelling, engine emissions and oil leaks.


Refuelling your Boat – The right way!

– Whenever possible, refuel at an approved refuelling station where spill kits are available, Do not transfer fuel to your boat in containers.
– For safety, have all passengers disembark the vessel during petroleum refuelling
– Before you start refuelling, estimate how much fuel you need in your tanks to prevent overflow
– Plug the scuppers with rags during refuelling where possible.
– Keep absorbent materials on deck to mop up any spills
– Make sure a responsible adult monitors the entire refuelling process. Don’t let children or untrained people refuel your boat.
– Never leave the fuel hose unattended while refuelling
– Use caution in filling your fuel tank to avoid spillage into the water
– Fit a vent whistle & listen to the tone while refuelling
– When fueling, avoid topping off or overfilling to reduce the risk of fuel overflowing from vents. Allow room for expansion in the tank.
If you overfill your fuel tank, wipe it up with an absorbent rag. Do not hose the fuel off into the water. Dispose of the contaminated rags responsibly.

Report Spills immediately to your marina service manager. The sooner the spill is reported the better chance there is of minimising damage to the environment. Remember that bilge socks can be purchased from our marina offices, or through our online shop here >

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