Marine Debris Can Ruin a Good Day on the Water    













What to Do When You Find 
Marine Debris

As a boater or beach-goer, you may encounter anything from logs or plastic trash to stranded marine mammals or derelict fishing gear. All are potential hazards to navigation or just beach walking.

Below are easy action guidelines and contacts. Contact your NOAA Marine Debris Program for more guidelines:

Help keep our waters safe!

Safely pick up ordinary trash, which typically includes plastic bottles, fishing line and bags. Please report all other large debris. Use common sense: Don’t pick up anything sharp, awkward to lift or that appears to be a hazardous material.

Follow these simple steps when you encounter

  • Trash: Retrieve ordinary garbage when safe to do so; use a net, gloves or grabber and dispose of it along with your own garbage as usual. Many marinas, docks, boat launches and fishing supply shops have trash bins and specialized bins for monofilament for recycling.
  • Mid-sized objects: mark it, tow it in if possible or report position to U.S. Coast Guard: VHF Ch. 16 or 800-424-8802 
  • Large objects, such as logs: U.S. Coast Guard: VHF Ch. 16 or 206-217-6001
  • Oil spills or chemical releases: Report to the National Response Center hotline at 800-424-8802
  • Derelict fishing gear and abandoned vessels: Report to Derelict Gear Hotline: 855-542-3935
  • Entangled marine mammals: Report to 877-SOS-WHAL or 877-767-9425
  • Stranded birds or marine animals: Report to West Coast Region Stranding Hotline: 866-767-6114
  • Injured birds and other wildlife: Contact a rehabilitator through Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife 360-902-2200  or

 Don’t dump!

  • It is illegal to dispose of your boating garbage in U.S. waters and anywhere at sea.
  • Report illegal dumping to the U.S. Coast Guard on VHF Ch. 16 or call 800-424-8802. 

Thanks for doing your part!