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Gasoline spills contaminate drinking water, harm aquatic life and damage nearby boats and docks. Always fill your boat's portable gasoline fuel tank on shore to avoid spilling oil into bodies of water.
Fill portable tanks on land at a safe distance from the water. While filling portable tanks, keep oil-absorbent pads nearby to clean any spills. Fill your boat's portable gasoline tank to 90 percent capacity or less, to allow the gasoline room to expand as it heats.
One pint of spilled gasoline spreads to cover an acre of water surface. Floating gasoline poisons marine life and prevents light from passing through the water, reducing the oxygen exchange that usually occurs on the surface of the water. Gasoline vapor is also highly flammable.
Larger boats usually do not have portable gasoline tanks. If your boat has a fixed gasoline tank, ensure it also has no-spill tank vents. Always fill tanks slowly and allow extra space for gasoline expansion. Do not leave the fuel nozzle unattended. Keep oil-absorbent pads nearby.
Spilling gasoline and other petroleum products into the water is prohibited by the Federal Water Pollution Control Act and by some state laws.
Rebekah Richards is a professional writer with work published in the "Atlanta Journal-Constitution," "Brandeis University Law Journal" and online at tolerance.org. She graduated magna cum laude from Brandeis University with bachelor's degrees in creative writing, English/American literature and international studies. Richards earned a master's degree at Carnegie Mellon University.