Words by Dean LaTourrette, Executive Director, Save The Waves Coalition

I wanted to update you personally about the oil spill here in the San Francisco Bay, how it’s affecting our local beaches, and how Save The Waves is involved in volunteering. In general, our goal is to combine with other groups in the Bay Area to galvanize local support and volunteer efforts.

On Wednesday morning, the container ship Cosco Busan, owned by China COSCO Holdings Co Ltd and leased to South Korea's Hanjin Group, struck a tower of the Bay Bridge, creating a long slash along the ship that allowed bunker fuel to spill into the water. It’s estimated that approximately 58,000 gallons of bunker fuel oil spilled into the San Francisco Bay, and due to tidal flow quickly spread outside of the bay. In addition to a variety of locations within SF Bay, oil has been reported as far north as Stinson Beach, as far west as the Farallon Islands, and as far south as Fort Funston (southern Ocean Beach).

At least 16 beaches are closed throughout the Bay Area at this point, including SF’s Ocean Beach and Marin’s Rodeo Beach, both popular surfing areas.

To report oil sightings call (985) 781-0804, to report oiled wildlife call (877) 823-6926. As for beach clean-up, people have to be specially trained (HAZMAT) to conduct an oil spill clean-up.


Volunteers wishing to get involved in the Bay, Marin, or general oil spill cleanups should head down to the Fort Mason Command Center, corner of Marina Boulevard and Buchanan Street, in San Francisco.

Also, Surfers Byron Cleary and Kathleen Egan are spearheading a grassroots clean-up effort and working on getting the City's backing. For now, meet up 10am - 5pm, Friday Nov 9 at Sports Basement Presidio at 610 Mason Street, (415) 437-0100 by Crissy Field, San Francisco.

Volunteers: The environmental group Baykeeper is soliciting volunteers.

More info: More information on how to volunteer eventually will be posted online by the Oiled Wildlife Care Network.

Oil slicks: Help track the spill by reporting oil slicks. Call (985) 781-0804.

Wildlife: Report oiled wildlife at (877) 823-6926. (Do not call this number to volunteer.)

Damage: Submit claims for damaged property at (888) 850-8486.

SF Surfrider members are also planning coastal hikes to find and report oiled wildlife. Register for SF Surfrider updates here.