Tag Archives: Equipment

IOSA Receives Funding for New Round of Oil Spill Response Trainings in 2018/2019.

Do you love to work on the water?

Would you like to learn how to protect a shoreline from oil?

Want to help search for and do initial care of oiled birds?

Would you like to do support or help with logistics at an oil spill?

Come learn the basics of oil spill response at an Islands’ Oil Spill Association training session!  

Thanks to funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, which we were recommended for by NOAA, IOSA has an ambitious list of trainings coming up between now and October of 2019.

Here is the schedule for 2018.

CANCELLED  — June 2nd, Saturday, Search & Rescue of Oiled Birds on Lopez

In this class, we will teach you how to search for and rescue oiled birds, provide initial care, practice handling live ducks, and learn of safety concerns.  We will also spend some time on the beach practicing how to do search and capture of oiled birds.


June 9th, Saturday  Oil Containment / Geographic Response Plan (GRP) Drill at Nelson Bay, Henry Island

This containment drill and boom deployment will take place on the west side of San Juan Island. The structure of the drill will include initial training/review of different techniques, assignment to boats and specific tasks, use of the incident command system, a safety briefing, and use of an oil spill scenario.  This geographic response plan strategy is SJI-23-HEN and you can find it at the Ecology website, click on San Juan Islands/North Puget Sound and go to page 4-39 http://www.oilspills101.wa.gov/northwest-area-contingency-plan/geographic-response-plans-grps/list-of-geographic-response-plans/ .  If you have a boat you would like to use at this drill or at any other oil containment drill, please let us know.

Setting oil containment boom to divert oil away from a sensitive bay.

September 8th, Saturday  Oil Containment / Geographic Response Plan Drill on the West Side of San Juan Island

This drill will be similar to the above drill at Nelson Bay, but will be at a different place on the west side of San Juan.  There are a number of Geographic Response Plan (GRP) strategies in the area that you can check out at the above link.  See map on page 4-18 of the GRP’s.

September 21st, FRIDAY    Geographic Response Plan Drill at Prevost Harbor on Stuart Island with Western Canada Marine Response Corporation (WCMRC)

This is a special drill that will be done in coordination with Western Canada Marine Response Corporation, as we may end up working with them on a spill on the west or north side of San Juan County in the future.  The strategy for this drill will be SJI-11-STU (see page 4-38 of the GRP’s, see above link).  Also note that this drill will be on a FRIDAY, not our usual Saturday.

Boom across east entrance Prevost Harbor
Oil containment harbor boom attached to east side of Prevost Harbor.

October 13th, Saturday  Search & Rescue of Oiled Wildlife on Orcas.

This class will be held on Orcas Island.  Look at above description of the training on June 2nd for more information.

Oiled Bird Search, Rescue, and Initial Care Training at Lopez Center.

November 3rd, Saturday  Hazwoper Safety Training on Lopez Island.

This will be a Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response training.  This training is necessary for anyone wishing to respond to an oil spill where you may be near oil (for wildlife and containment response).  We are updating this class and it will include an oil spill scenario.

Practice pulling someone (in this case our dummy Ray!) up onto a boat after they have fallen into the water.  (Remember, always use your knees when lifting!)

November 10th, Saturday  ­Air Monitoring / Site Safety Training

In this class you will learn how to do air monitoring at an oil spill for substances such as Hydrogen Sulfide and Benzene.  There will also be instruction in site safety.  You will need to be able to be contacted quickly in the event of an oil spill, because air monitoring must be done before we can work on the scene.  This training is focused on people who live part or full-time in the San Juan Islands.

IOSA responders on the Sea Goose read the gas meter and record their findings.

Spring of 2019, Deterring Orca from Entering Areas of Spilled Oil.

This exercise will expand on the Deterrence Exercise held in May of 2018.  We will incorporate lessons learned in the last exercise, and train new people in this hazing technique of using the oikomi pipes.   In the event of a large oil spill many of our regular responders will be working doing other tasks, so we need people who would just focus on deterring Orca from areas of oil.  If you are interested in protecting the Orca and have your own boat, please come join us next year.  You can sign up below and we will inform you of the date around the end of the year.

IOSA responder hits an oikomi pipe during an exercise to practice deterring Orca from an oil spill.  Photo by Lindy McMorran

Providing Support for an Oil Spill Response.

One of the areas of an oil spill that is very important is support and logistics.  In a larger oil spill help is needed in many of the following areas:

  • Transporting responders, equipment and oiled birds by car or boat.
  • Providing support at the Command Center, Staging Area, or Oiled Bird Initial Care Center.  This can be everything from signing people or equipment/supplies in and out, preparing snacks, lunches, beverages, being on call for first aid, filling out forms, calling responders to work the next day . . . The list goes on and on.
  • Logistics:  What equipment is needed where?  How do we get it there?  Where do we order it from?

While we don’t have any trainings set up in this area at this time, we would like to get a list of people who are interested in support functions and have a meeting sometime in the near future.  Please sign up below if you are interested in helping in a support function at an oil spill.

For more information on any of IOSA’s trainings, contact us at iosa.robyn@rockisland.com.

Preregistration is required for all of IOSA’s trainings and drills.

**If you are interested in helping to protect the environment and animals of the Salish Sea, please sign up below.**



A beautiful Common Murre, fully waterproof!



How to Deter Orca from an Oil Spill

Islands’ Oil Spill Association held an exercise on May 12th to test a method to deter Orca from areas where there are large amounts of spilled oil.  The exercise was held in conjunction with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Washington State Department of Ecology as part of the Governor’s Executive Order to protect the Southern Resident Killer Whales.

The method used was to hang oikomi pipes (8’ long pipes made with reverberant metal) from the boats and then the pipes are struck with hammers or rebar at two second intervals.  The pipes make a discordant noise that is not harmful to the whale’s hearing.  The boats line up beam to beam, holding their positions relative to the other boats.  One of the interesting parts of the exercise was determining the best way to deploy the pipes from the boats in such a way that 80% of the pipe was underwater and people were still able to be in a comfortable position to strike the pipes for long periods of time.

IOSA volunteer demonstrates using the Oikomi pipes.

Many different types of boats were used and it was a challenge with the different size boats and varying shapes of the keels to keep the boats in as close to a line as possible.  The volunteers did a great job of figuring out the best way to hang the pipes from the boats.  The boat captains were very skillful in keeping their boats lined up.  Another strategy was tried with the boats lined up in a U shape to see if that worked better in terms of disseminating the sound outwards.  Dr. Val Viers of Orcasound Lab recorded the sounds with his hydrophone so they can be analyzed later (at IOSA’s last exercise five years ago the sound levels were from 118 to 132 decibels).

In Barnes Lake, Alaska, this method was used to move Orcas out of an inlet with a shallow entrance that the whales were reluctant to cross.  The method was successful in moving the whales back into the ocean.

Eight boats from San Juan County and one from Whatcom County participated in the exercise with 37 volunteers.  Participants came from Washington State Parks, Phillips 66, Pacific Whale Watch Operators, Whatcom County Marine Mammal Stranding Network, and all over San Juan County.  IOSA thanks everyone who gave of their time to participate in this exercise!

Don Noviello of Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife describes how to use an Oikomi Pipe to IOSA volunteers.

Please contact us if you are interested in participating in our next exercise in 2019 (date yet to be determined).  We need more people and boats participating that would not be doing oil spill containment or search and rescue of oiled wildlife in the event of a large oil spill.  If you are a boat owner or whale watch operator who would like to participate in this exercise, please fill in the below form and we will notify you when we set a date for the next exercise.

This exercise was funded by a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation 

Equipment & Training Grant Received from Washington State Dept. of Ecology

San Juan County Emergency Services and IOSA received a grant this year for the following equipment and training from Washington State Dept. of Ecology

The equipment we will be receiving includes:

  • Two gas meters for monitoring air quality around an oil spill (adding to the two we already have);
  • New marine VHF radios;
  • New Ipads with navigation software for our two main response vessels (Sea Goose and Green Heron);
  • Maintenance on the four yellow oil spill equipment trailers we received from Ecology about eight years ago.

DOE trailer 22 on Lopez Island

Our False Bay drill on May 20th, 2017, is also paid for through this grant.

Thank you to Washington State Dept. of Ecology for this generous grant!

Help us fund the new Green Heron motor! We are so close!

November 10, 2016 Update

People responded generously to our request for help in getting a New Motor for the Green Heron.  With the initial grant from San Juan Islands Community Foundation, plus the monies raised at the San Juan County Fair, we are only $2,700 short of our goal.  If you could help us reach our goal, it would be a great help.  Just click on the contribute button at the upper right!


August 14, 2016

Help us purchase a much-needed new outboard motor for the Green Heron, our 23′ landing craft oil spill response vessel. 

Recognizing the increased needs of IOSA to keep our spill response equipment dependable and ready to go at a moment’s notice, the San Juan Island Community Foundation has offered a matching grant for a special fund-raising campaign for our motor.  This is in addition to the initial $5,000 grant they gave to IOSA.

Green Heron tows oil containment boom to an attachment point at an oil containment drill in Small Pox Bay on the west side of San Juan Island.
Green Heron tows oil containment boom to an attachment point at an oil containment drill in Small Pox Bay on the west side of San Juan Island.

The new motor will replace the 29-year-old Yamaha 115 hp outboard that is currently on the Green Heron.  This vessel is one of the main work boats of IOSA’s oil spill response boats. The Green Heron is one of the two IOSA vessels that would work together to meet the first 2- and 3-hour oil spill response requirements mandated for San Juan County by the Department of Ecology.

How You Can Help!

Donations made to San Juan Island Community Foundation in IOSA’s name during the San Juan County Fair, August 17 through August 20, 2016, will be generously matched by the Community Foundation at 50 cents on every dollar of the first $1,676 donated.

To be able to buy the motor, the funds needed are $8,917 for the motor and installation.

Please help us raise the funds needed for
the Green Heron’s new motor!

In order to be eligible for this matching grant program
Donations MUST be made during the dates of the fair,
August 17-20 (Wed-Sat), 2016.

Also, the donations must be made to
San Juan Island Community Foundation directly:

  • In person at the San Juan Island Community Foundation Fair booth, with a check made payable to SJICF and a note in the memo line stating that it is “for IOSA’s new outboard motor;”
  • A check is mailed, postmarked during the fair dates, to SJICF, noting in the memo line it is for IOSA’s new outboard motor.  Their address is PO Box 1352, Friday Harbor, WA 98250, or;
Attaching an anchor to the oil containment boom.
Responders on the Green Heron attach an anchor to the oil containment boom during a drill at Snug Harbor, San Juan Island.

Please help support our efforts to keep our waters and beaches as clean as possible and help us benefit from this unique matching grant opportunity offered by the San Juan Island Community Foundation.

Most Sincerely,

IOSA Staff and Board of Directors

Responders on the Green Heron attach a tow plate to the tail end of the oil containment boom during a drill.
On the Green Heron, responders attach a tow plate to the tail end of the oil containment boom during a drill.