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Spills Program

Class 4 oil handling facilities

Class 4 Facilities (Marinas and Small Fueling Stations)

On this page: Oil Spill Response Plans | Oil Transfer Requirements | Inspections | Regional Office Contacts


Clean Marinas Pollution Prevention manual front coverThe Pollution Prevention for Washington State Marinas manual describes best practices, regulations, and resources for marinas. Become a Clean Marina

What is a recreational vessel?

The Class 4 oil handling facility category applies to marinas or other small fueling facilities that transfer oil to non-recreational vessels with a total oil capacity of less than 10,500 gallons.

Vessels are considered "recreational" if owned and operated only for pleasure with no monetary gain involved, and if leased, rented, or chartered to another for recreational use without monetary gain. Examples include house boats, ski boats, and other small craft on a rental or lease agreement.

If a vessel does not meet the definition of a recreational vessel, it is considered a non-recreational vessel. Examples of non-recreational vessels include sight-seeing or tour boats, passenger vessels, chartered fishing boats, boats used for parasailing, tug boats, etc. This definition is based on the vessel's use and not on its size.

Recreational marinas are marinas that serve recreational vessels ONLY and are not subject to the oil transfer requirements in Chapter 173-180 WAC.


Oil spill response plans reduce response times

Planning and practicing spill response can reduce the amount of time it takes to respond. Class 4 marinas are required to have a spill response plan. If you are not a Class 4 marina, these tools can still be helpful in preparing for a spill.

For a free packet of prevention materials (contains oil spill prevention signage), email the Spills Web and Publications Coordinator

If a spill occurs:

  1. Stop the flow and warn others in the area immediately.
  2. Shut off any ignition sources, including cigarettes, and contain the spill.
  3. Immediately call 800-OILS-911. By law, ALL spills must be reported.

Oil transfer rules help prevent spills

Ecology’s oil transfer rules help prevent spills from leaks, drips, and overfilling of small vessel fuel tanks through education and emphasis on spill prevention. Fewer spills and better response capability helps protect our natural resources from the hazards of oil spills.

Ecology requires Class 4 facilities to report bulk oil transfer operations, involving non-recreational vessels, on January 15th and July 15th of each year. Oil transfer rules for facilities are detailed in WAC Chapter 173-180.

Guidance is available to help Class 4 marinas comply with the oil transfer rule:


Inspections verify compliance

Ecology ensures through on-site annual inspection each Class 4 facility is in compliance with state requirements found in WAC Chapter 173-180. Inspections typically involve transfer equipment condition, maintenance, and operational review of on-site activities.

The inspector will review any issues found with the persons in charge at the site and may send a letter detailing significant issues found during the inspection. Facilities can use Ecology's inspection checklist to verify that oil transfer procedures and equipment are in compliance.

The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires a spill prevention, control, and countermeasures plan (also known as an SPCC plan) for above-ground storage tanks greater than 1,320 gallons of oil products. Ecology does not inspect or verify compliance with the SPCC plan, but encourages the incorporation of Ecology’s requirements into the facility’s SPCC plan to help with training and prevention measures, compliance with Ecology and EPA requirements, and readiness of facility employees in an emergency.


Become a Washington Clean Marina

Clean Marina is an industry-led, certification program between marina managers, state agencies, and nonprofit organizations. Together, these partners work to prevent pollution, reduce waste, and communicate best practices to boaters.

With more than one-third of Washington marinas certified after 10 years, the program continues to grow, enhancing water quality protections and increasing member benefits.

Ecology does not perform Clean Marina certification, but strongly encourages marinas to become certified.



Regional Office Contacts

  • Northwest Regional Office: (425) 649-7000
  • Bellingham Field Office: (360) 715-5200
  • Southwest Region/Ecology Headquarters: (360) 407-7455
  • Vancouver Field Office: (360) 690-7171