A containment boom is a temporary floating barrier used to contain an oil spill.
Booms are used to reduce the possibility of polluting shorelines and other resources, and to help make recovery easier.
Booms help concentrate oil in thicker surface layers so that skimmers, vacuums, or other collection methods can be used more effectively. They come in many shapes and sizes, with various levels of effectiveness in different types of water conditions.
Booms used in oil spills can be seen as they rest on the surface of the water, but can have between 45 and 120 cm (18 to 48 inches) of material that hangs beneath the surface.
- Containment booming: placing a boom in a body of contaminated water for the purpose of holding or slowing the movement of contamination.
- Diversion booming: placing a boom in a body of contaminated water for the purpose of diverting the contamination to a collection point.
- Deflection booming: placing a boom in a body of water for the sole purpose of changing the course of the contamination. This method is used for contamination that is not intended to be recovered and so is not typically associated with oil spills.
- Exclusion booming: placing a boom in a body of water for the purpose of blocking off a sensitive area from contamination. It is not recommended in fast water, and as diversion booming or deflection booming is better suited. However, when diversion booming and deflection booming tactics are not suitable and resource protection is still needed, like because of a fast high tide in a sensitive estuary, an arrangement of booms with a decelerator is needed
More info on Containment Booms from the EPA