Two tankers collide in Puget Sound. More than 4,000 gallons of oil are spilling into its fragile waters, and the race against time is on.

It's a simulation of a "worst case scenario" oil spill in the San Juan Islands -- wildlife endangered, habitats threatened, livelihoods at risk.

"An oil spill is our worst nightmare, for sure," said Bill Dewey of Taylor Shellfish Farms.

Dewey said the shellfish industry generates a quarter billion dollars a year in Washington. Hundreds of families depend on safe, clean waters to keep them afloat.

"There is a lot at stake with those families," he said. "Not to mention the seafood that's produced at those farms and the loss of that seafood."

The effects of a major spill in Puget Sound could cost our economy nearly 11 billion dollars, impact 165,000 jobs, and be felt well beyond our borders.

"It could affect our ability to fly out of the airport, supply food and medicine to places like Alaska and Hawaii," said the Department of Ecology's Linda Pilkey-Jarvis. "There could be some really devastating consequences."

To keep that from becoming a reality, new technologies were tested Thursday in the San Juans.

Faster oil skimmers called "current busters" allow workers to get oil out of the water three times more quickly than before. Drones are deployed to help supervisors see how big the spill is, how fast it's moving and where it's headed. They fly over volunteer vessels who stand on-call, ready to respond whenever needed.

All that information will soon be analyzed by the Department of Ecology and its partners to determine what they can improve upon should this "worst case scenario" one day become a reality.

"We definitely don't want the big one to happen," said Pilkey-Jarvis. "We have to be ready."