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LASC Releases Soak it Up! Briefing Paper on the Impacts of oil Leaks from Recreational Boating and Strategies for Sustainability

The Los Angeles Sustainability Collaborative presents Soak it Up! A Briefing Paper on the Impacts of Oil Leaks and Spills from Recreational Boating and Strategies for Sustainability. This paper investigates the world of recreational boating and recommends strategies for sustainable boating in California. Here currently, at least 96 percent of surveyed motor boaters report that oil leaks into the bottom of their boat’s bilge or engine compartment most of the time or every time they use their boat. These incidental leaks add up to a significant, but under-explored problem that requires solutions to protect our water resources.

LASC partnered with Model Environment volunteers Carla Houston and Nina Smidt, who had been providing boaters environmental education in Southern California with the Dockwalkers program. They found the oil spill statistics alarming and contacted the LASC. Colleen Callahan, LASC Research Director, and LASC Fellow Matthew Christensen authored the paper, incorporating data and insights from recreational boaters, scientists and policy experts, many of whom are part of the Switzer Foundation network. This collaboration and the resulting paper was made possible by a Network Innovations Grants from the Switzer Foundation. Another partner on the project, the organization Environment California, seeks to use the paper’s recommendations to inform a legislative campaign.

The briefing paper is available for download by clicking here: Download Soak it Up!


  1. Hrmm that was weird, my comment got eaten. Anyway I weantd to say that it’s nice to know that someone else also mentioned this as I had trouble finding the same info elsewhere. This was the first place that told me the answer. Thanks.

  2. i did that once, i did that once, then 4 people from aruond came to help me push the boat of the trailer, eventually noticing that the tie downs were on I felt like an idiot and those guys werent so pleased