Islands' Oil Spill Association

A non-profit, community-based, community-supported oil spill response organization, the only spill response group in the San Juan Islands,
Washington State

IOSA's mission is to provide San Juan County with prompt, effective, local spill response and prevention, which includes spill assessment, oil containment, exclusion & removal
oiled wildlife search & rescue
IOSA will be announcing our new and improved website very soon, hopefully during the latter part of July 2014.  You will find many changes, including the opportunity to support our work with online donations!!         Coming soon ...

Click on the links below for more information

About IOSA  
Training Schedule
Annual Spill Reports
Recent Newsletters
Responder Info
How You Can Help



    Welcome to the home page of Islands' Oil Spill Association (IOSA).  We are a non-profit, community-based,
community-supported oil spill response organization that provides prompt, effective, local oil spill response and
prevention throughout San Juan County in Washington state.

     IOSA is the only oil spill response organization in the San Juan Islands and the only private, non-profit,
community-based response organization in the Pacific Northwest.

     We have trained responders available for quick assessment and clean-up 24 hours a day throughout the year and
many of IOSA's responders are trained in both oil spill containment/clean-up & oiled wildlife search & rescue.


IOSA Responds to boat fire at Roche Harbor, north end of San Juan Island
July 10 & 11, 2013

photo on the left below is courtesy of The Island Guardian at
photo on the right by Julie Knight, IOSA


Summary of IOSA tasks completed:   

  19 IOSA responders worked on site & 1 dispatcher completed call-outs

-  set GRP and extended length of boom and area covered by the IOSA boom that was initially set around the burning vessel by the Roche Harbor marina staff, set & reset a double layer of boom around the vessel and lined nearby slips as requested by marina staff, then reset and anchored boom on second day to allow vessels coming in to Roche Harbor to use nearby slips as requested by marina staff, transferred this boom to add to double-layer containment of vessel and downwind collection area;

-  recovered oil and oiled debris, cut up larger oiled debris and bagged it, set up staging area beside the main walkway above the dock area, bagged and hauled oil and debris to staging/interim storage site, and then worked on loading of 214 bags of oiled sorbents and 26 bags of oiled debris and 7 bags of other items recovered from the vessel into the roll-back dump truck

-  cleaned both sides of the 1900' of oiled IOSA boom that was in the water, and loaded boom and towed equipment trailer to IOSA storage site at Port of  FH airport.  2nd trailer was used another day and towed back to Roche Harbor storage site by Towline staff.



Hughes Bay boom deployment/containment drill

What Does IOSA Do?

In addition to spill response & preparedness, 24-hr on-call pager & follow-up on spill reports, equipment acquisition & maintenance, training documentation & record-keeping, responder & community outreach, fundraising, administrative & financial, here’s some of what we’ve done since Jan 2010 (thru Dec 2011):

†8 containment/boom deployment/equipment drills in: Buck Bay & Rosario Strait,
   Orcas Island; False Bay, west side SJ Island; Crow Valley Creek in West Sound,
       Orcas; Argyle Lagoon, San Juan Island (2); several bays around Sucia Island & Stuart
       Island; Fisherman Bay, Lopez Island;

5 Site Safety Assessment drills for a crew of 1st responders to practice site safety
       assessment process & use of gas detection meters

6 Search & Rescue/Collection of Oiled Birds trainings

   4 Basic Care & Handling of Oiled Birds classes

   1 Wildlife Search & Collection Coordination tabletop drill

   4 HAZWOPER Safety trainings

Participation in Polar Tanker’s 3-day Worst Case Discharge (WCD) tabletop drill
*  ConocoPhillips tabletop drill    *  BP Worst Case Discharge tabletop drill
*  IOSA Overview/Orientation for USCG, Sector Puget Sound
*  Attended International Oil Spill 4-day Conference in June 2011
*  Participated in 3 multi-day Marine Spill Response Cooperative’s Mobile Oiled Wildlife
    Facility Set-up exercises




How IOSA helps PREVENT oil spills in the San Juan Islands

50' vessel grounded on Little Patos Island in June 2011 with 400 gallons of diesel fuel onboard.  Strong,
converging currents create conditions that require IOSA responders to constantly tend & adjust boom & re-set anchors
                                                                                                                                                           Photo by Andrew DiRienzo, Towline Marine Assist                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

  4000 gallons of diesel was onboard the Ruby Lily when she ran aground on some rocks south of Patos Island sometime after midnight on June 7, 2011.  Fortunately, only a tiny amount of fuel was leaking when IOSA was contacted in the wee hours of the morning by the US Coast Guard & the WA Dept. of Ecology.
By 8 am, the decision was made to have IOSA deploy containment boom around the vessel and arrangements were made to get equipment to the site to pump off as much fuel as possible while waiting for the late-night high tide to re-float the beautiful, 50’
Ruby Lily.

  Patos Island, northwest of Sucia Island, sits right at the intersection of Boundary Pass and the Strait of Georgia; consequently, the area is subject to strong and constantly-changing currents, as well as wind and waves from all directions. IOSA Coordinators knew that this job called for responders who had a lot of training and experience working with spill response equipment in the difficult conditions that can be created by currents, wind and waves, all of which were a factor up on Little Patos that day.

  IOSA’s main response vessel, the Sea Goose, left the dock at Shoal Bay that morning with 1000’ of containment boom (stationed on the boat at all times) and a crew of 4 very experienced IOSA responders. They deployed 500’ of containment boom around the grounded vessel and spent the day adjusting boom and
re-setting anchors until Global Diving & Salvage arrived from the mainland with a truck that had the capacity to hold such a large amount of fuel. Towline Marine Assist from Friday Harbor had been hired to help get the boat off the rocks and the Island Transporter had the job of carrying Global’s truck and other equipment to the site.

With the strong currents and some heavy chop, it was tricky to get the barge up close enough to the Ruby Lily and keep it in position while fuel was pumped off the vessel into the tank truck on the barge. The boom also had to be opened up to accommodate the operation so responders kept a constant vigil on any potential leaking of fuel into the water. At one point mid-day, sheen was noticed around the vessel and it was discovered to be a small hole in the transducer, which was easily captured in a bucket. The tank full of diesel had not been compromised.

  At 10 pm, 1500 gallons of diesel had been pumped off the boat and she began to float. IOSA responders were given the OK to pull boom and began heading back to Shoal Bay, where they arrived at 1:30 in the morning, a very tired but satisfied crew, knowing they had done an excellent job in difficult conditions. We want to thank them not only for the great job they did but also for the fact that each of them dropped what they were doing that morning and were willing and able to get their gear together and head out on the Sea Goose, with no idea how long the job would take but knowing they could handle whatever came up.

                                                                                                                          photo by Barnes




Spill-related Links provides links to: 

  • Immediately useful info regarding weather, tide charts, shoreline images, buoy data, ferry info, sunrise/set and correct time.
  • Sites to locate and print out MSDSs (Material Safety Data Sheets)
  • Government agencies
  • Oil spill-related organizations and industries
  • Wildlife rescue
  • Spill response equipment providers
  • Downloadable documents such as GRPs (Geographic Response Plans), NOAA's Incident Command System and relevant software.
  • Training/education


The map below shows:
info current thru Aug 2008)

The location of IOSA's oil spill response equipment;
The number of spill clean-ups, containment and/or wildlife
      search & rescue in general areas;
The location of rock anchor bolts installed by IOSA;       
The locations of IOSA's containment drills/
      GRP protection strategy field tests.
   **** Click on the map to enlarge the image ****  


The "Esperanza" hit a rock & sank off the southwest side of
San Juan Island in Aug 2007.  In IOSA's 100th spill response,
170 gallons of diesel was removed from the vessel.  To read
a detailed description of this spill response, click here.
                                                                                                          photo by Julie Knight

IOSA crew readies equipment on deck in preparation to set
anchor during Mosquito Pass containment drill in Nov 2009. 
IOSA conducts several containment/boom deployment
drills each year throughout the San Juan Islands. 
See info on GRP (Geographic Response Plans)
                                                                                                          photo by Jackie Wolf

The boat in the photo above ran up onto the rocks of Long Island off the south end of Lopez one night in late June 2011.  Because there was 60 gallons of gasoline onboard and not diesel, containment boom was not set ... gas is typically not contained in a small area because of its flammability.  Two IOSA responders worked with Towline Marine Assist to pump the fuel off the boat, then Towline worked with Island Transporter to lift the grounded boat up off the rocks and take it to port.
                                                                                                    photo by Barnes


Islands' Oil Spill Association
PO Box 12
Lopez Island, WA 98261
email IOSA :
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