Cleaning oil from a boat

How to clean anything is a collection of cleaning tips compiled by professionals who have worked for years in the custodial industry.  We have answered questions about almost everything but recently we started to get questions about cleaning oil from boat hulls.  These questions, obviously, as a result of the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Doing a bit of research we discovered a news article about the decontamination tugboat Resolute, which helps cleans vessels everyday using a 2,000 psi water cannon.  This process usually removes just the thickest deposits so the boats won’t deposit any oil as they return to port.  Evidently the remaining deposits still stuck to the hull need to be cleaned later with higher-pressure hoses and dry ice equipment. All this just to clean the boats that are cleaning up the oil spill!

We have learned that lighter deposits or the brownish ring around the boat at the waterline can usually be removed using regular dish detergent.Use gloves, wear protective eye wear, and apply a liberal solution using a sponge or spray bottle, then wipe the area with a paper towels and collect them into a separate plastic bag which can be taken to a clean up collection centre. We would caution that crude oil can contain very dangerous compounds, and even adding dish detergents into coastal waters might be viewed as introducing pollution!

Ask your marina, or local authorities for the contact information for the clean up efforts in your area for specific details, assistance and where to deposit the collected oil.

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