Tag Archives: spill response

Drill Date Change to Oct 28th. If there is a large oil spill in San Juan County, would you have the skills to help?

Do you love to work on the water?

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

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

Saturday, October 28st, 2017, 10am to 3pm
San Juan Island

In this class you will learn many of the basic skills you will need when setting oil containment boom and using other equipment to protect a sensitive area in our islands.

Do you know what containment boom is?  How does it work to contain oil?  How do you deploy it?  Ever heard of a pelican hook? (It’s not used on pelicans!) What is oil snare (see below)?

Oil snare set up on beach during a drill.


For more information, contact IOSA at 360-468-3441 or iosa.robyn@rockisland.com.

Preregistration required.



Oiled Wildlife Search & Rescue and Initial Care — RESCHEDULED — to May 21, 2017


May 21st, Sunday.
Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, 11:30 am to 5:10 pm.

Free Training – go to bottom of page to preregister.

This class will give you the basics in oiled seabird search and rescue (including a practice session on the beach), oiled seabird initial care (using some of the 35 domesticated ducks we have here on Lopez), safety training relating to oiled seabird rescue and care, and a basic introduction to IOSA and where we fit in the oil spill response community.

When oil spills on the water, especially a thicker oil like crude oil or bunker fuel, it can get on the feathers of seabirds (these are birds that spend most of their time on or in the water and little time on land).  The oil coats the feathers, which then can’t interlock together and the birds are thus prevented from staying waterproof (sort of like a hole in a dry suit.  The cold water can then get to their skin and causes them to become hypothermic and come onto land to stay warmer.

The best we can do for these birds, once they get oiled, is to rescue them and bring them in for initial care.  During initial care we warm them up, flush the petroleum out of their system, give them fluids, and wipe off any oil that is blocking their nostrils or is in their mouth.

There are Wildlife Rehabilitation Mobile Response Units that are available to be set up within 24 hours in a warehouse on the mainland that has the needed electricity and water capabilities needed for longer term care.  Once the Mobile Response Units are set up, oiled birds can be sent there for ongoing treatment, stabilization, and washing.  When the birds are healthy again and have spent time in salt water pools, they are released into the wild.   Click here for more information on these Mobile Response Units.

To be able to help oiled wildlife in an oil spill, this training is needed along with additional Hazwoper Safety Training.  This training session focuses on the initial rescue and care before the birds are transported to the Mobile Response Units.

If you are interested in attending this training, please sign up below.  Preregistration is required.  We look forward to meeting you!



Wildlife Care Training

HAZWOPER Safety Training on November 19th, 2016, Orcas Island.

Would you like to assist at an oil spill in San Juan County?  Then come to our Safety Training class on Orcas Island on November 19th, from 11:30am to 5:45pm.  In this class you will learn what you need to know to keep yourself safe during an oil spill.

Imagine a large vessel starts leaking crude oil in Rosario Strait.  The oil moves down Rosario Strait hitting Sucia Island, the north and west sides of Orcas, Blakely, Decatur, and the west side of Lopez.  Responders would be needed to set containment boom at Sucia Island and other spots.  Responders would also need to be out looking for oiled wildlife.

In order to be a responder during an oil spill, you need HAZWOPER Training.  Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response training (HAZWOPER) is a requirement for all oil spill workers whether you are working to contain oil on the water, on the shoreline, or are involved in search and rescue or basic care of oiled wildlife.  In this training you will learn such things as:  how to rescue someone who has fallen overboard, what are the signs of petroleum products exposure, safety hazards to look out for, the correct use of response equipment, what personal protection equipment do you need to wear, what is involved in the incident command system, and what are your rights and responsibilities, among other things.

Rover spill 1993 This photo is from an oil spill at the dock at Jackson’s Beach on San Juan Island.  You can see the amount of debris that is in the water, along with the sorbent pads that are soaking up the oil inside the yellow oil containment boom.  In working at this site someone would have done air monitoring to make sure that the air was safe to breathe, you would need to lift pieces of debris and sorbent pads (soaked with oil) out of the water correctly so as not to hurt your back, place bagged oiled sorbents and debris in a decontamination area (which would be constructed on site), and you would need to wear the correct gear to protect yourself from the oil.  If you were out searching for oiled birds on the beach, you would need to know the most efficient and safest way to capture the birds, while looking out for hazards on the beach.


Sneaking up on an “oiled bird” (a person with a ball hiding in the logs) during a search and rescue training.

We invite you to Islands Oil Spill Association’s HAZWOPER class where you can learn all of the above and much more.  With the class, and some take home work, you can receive 8 hours of training, which is the minimum you need to help out at an oil spill.  Please join us for this training where you will learn how to keep yourself safe in responding to an oil spill, as well as learn about oiled wildlife care and oil containment.

Please register for this class by filling out the below form and we will send you information on where the class will be held and other information on the class.


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.