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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.


FREE Bilge Pad Exchange

This program is made possible through partnerships between the County of Orange, CalRecycle, harbor cities, and the essential local businesses that provide bilge pad collection and distribution locations.

Clean & Green

1. Never discharge contaminated bilge water into the harbors or ocean.
2. Use bilge pads or other absorbents to soak up oil, ATF and/or fuel.
3. Take the used, contaminated pads back to a participating Bilge Pad Exchange location for proper disposal.
4. Visit Household Hazardous Waste Collection Centers to recycle or properly dispose of other hazardous waste, learn more at:

Who Can Participate?

This program is open to everybody with a non-commercial vessel. If you are a boater or mechanic and use bilge pads routinely or while doing maintenance, you are encouraged to visit a participating Bilge Pad Exchange location in any Orange County harbor to get a new bilge pad and dispose of your used pads FREE.


Newport-Dunes-launch-rampBilge Pad Exchange Locations:

Sunset and Huntington Harbors

Newport Harbor

Dana Point Harbor