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  • Oil Pollution Laws for Recreational Boaters

    Recreational boaters enjoying a day on the water

    Photo Credit: US Coast Guard

    Discharging petroleum products like gas or oil into the water is illegal under both US federal and New Jersey state laws.

    The Clean Water Act forbids the discharge of oil and other hazardous substances within the navigable waters of the US or any waters that affect natural resources in the US exclusive economic zone.

    Under the Clean Water Act, any amount of oil spilled into the water causing a sheen or emulsification must be reported to the National Response Center.

    The Coast Guard can fine recreational boaters up to $5,000 for breaking the law, and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection may add other fines. Polluters are also responsible for the cost of cleanup.