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The first response to an oil spill is to control and where possible stop the oil leak and make sure people are safe. The oil can then be contained and mopped up. Skimmers are used to suck up the oil. Skimmers can be either small circular devices that float or be small powered boats with special equipment. There are different types of skimmers, but they all do the same job.

The boat could be designed to be used only as a skimmer, or the boat could have skimming equipment attached to the front.
Because oil floats on water, a skimmer only needs to treat the oil floating on the surface. The skimmer separates the oil from the water by the skimmer using an oily water separator. The oily sludge is safely stored on the boat and can be disposed of properly later.

Skimmers work well for small oil leaks that have have been spread and in conditions when the wind and waves are not strong.  

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