An important step in oil spill response is assessing the appearance and distribution of oil spilled on the water. This information is used by the Incident Command to prioritize the response and to direct cleanup resources. We offer several levels of training in the aerial observation of oil on water:
1. Online Introduction for Coast Guard Aircrews
The Office of Response and Restoration's Emergency Response Division has partnered with The COMET® Program to develop a training module designed specifically for U.S. Coast Guard aircrews.
This online training provides a basic one-hour introduction to aerial (overflight) observation of oil on water. Although designed for Coast Guard aircrews, who may spot oil spills in the course of their work, other flight crew members may find this lesson useful, including those from Incident Management Divisions or the Coast Guard Auxiliary, commercial aircrews, and private pilots.
Take the online training: Introduction to Observing Oil from Helicopters and Planes
(You'll need to create a username and password)
To assist aircrews who have completed the online training, we've created an Oil Observation Checklist. You can use this checklist to record oil slick characteristics and on-scene conditions from an overflight observation, using terminology that's most useful to oil spill responders.
Download the Checklist: Oil Observation Checklist [PDF, 400 KB]
2. Overview for Spill Responders
3. Comprehensive Training for Spill Responders
More Information about Aerial Observation
Job Aid for Aerial Observation: The Open Water Oil Identification Job Aid for Aerial Observation helps spill responders perform efficient aerial assessments of oil and use standard language to communicate their findings effectively. You can view and print the job aid, or order a laminated copy.
Questions: Contact us with any questions about aerial observation training.