Vessel emergency reporting

We require vessels to report spills — or threats of spills — within one hour by calling Washington's Division of Emergency Management at 1-800-258-5990 (24 hours a day).

Learn what defines a vessel emergency and your legal requirements when experiencing a discharge or potential discharge of oil.

A vessel emergency includes incidents such as:

  • Loss of propulsion
  • Grounding
  • Loss of steering
  • Allisions
  • Collisions

Vessel operators must notify us by calling Washington's Division of Emergency Management within one hour of experiencing a vessel emergency that either:

  • Results in a discharge.
  • Poses a substantial threat of discharge of oil.

Why should I report a vessel emergency?

The purpose of this notification is to allow federal, state, and industry partners to coordinate efforts and ensure that reasonable spill preparedness and response measures can be pre-identified, staged, or mobilized prior to a spill.

Contact information for Washington's Division of Emergency Management is in your contingency plans (1-800-258-5990 / 24 hours a day).

By making this notification, vessel operators take the first step to implement a proportional response to the emergency in coordination with their Northwest response partners.

State laws and rules requiring this notification

The law states that "the owner or operator of a covered vessel must notify the state of any vessel emergency that results in the discharge or substantial threat of discharge of oil to state waters or that may affect the natural resources of the state within one hour of the onset of that emergency."