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Boater Resources

Orange County Regional Program

Clean and Green Campaign

Got a Boat, Use a Pad

What is a bilge and why are bilge pads important?


The bilge is the lowest part of a boat’s hull where the in-board engine is located. Water can seep into the hull and collect in this area. This water can often become contaminated with oil and fuel that has leaked from the engine. From time to time the bilge pump is used to pump the water out of the bilge back into the ocean. Contaminated bilge water is a preventable source of pollution. Pumping contaminated water directly into the ocean is NOT allowed.

Oil absorbent bilge pads can greatly reduce the petroleum-based contaminants that enter the ocean. Bilge pads are made of a material that is specially designed to absorb oil and fuel while repelling water. When properly placed in the bilge, these pads can help ensure boaters only pump clean water back into the ocean.

When bilge pads become saturated with petroleum products, boaters can take them to one of the participating businesses conveniently located in each of the harbors and dispose of them in a special collection container. At the time of disposal, new pads can be obtained for future use. Disposal is absolutely FREE to boaters and new pads are also available at no cost.


Newport-Dunes-launch-rampBilge Pad Exchange Locations:

Sunset and Huntington Harbors

Newport Harbor

Dana Point Harbor