Reviews of bubble curtain oil herding studies in 1971 and in 1997 concluded that a bubble oil boom, or pneumatic oil barrier, is ineffective for retaining oil spills except in quiescent water, such as harbors. A bubble oil boom generates a sea-surface outwelling flow that traps or blocks oil. The primary bubble oil boom failure mode arises from oil droplet injection due to turbulence and instabilities at the oil slick front, where the outwelling flow balances the oil spreading. Bubble oil boom leakage occurs where these droplets are entrained into and pass through the bubble barrier. Increasing bubble flow creates stronger outwelling flows but increases turbulence and instabilities, leading to enhanced oil droplet entrainment. Natural seep observations, field trials, and laboratory studies demonstrate that a bubble plume with a wide bubble oil boom area, which is driven by an array of several parallel spargers (a bubble raft), can increase oil retention greatly while addressing key bubble oil boom failure modes compared with a line-source bubble curtain plume. Further improvements are identified by synergistic bubble oil boom application with a retaining skirt, dramatically improving the bubble oil boom performance. Specifically, the bubble oil boom keeps the oil distant from the skirt, minimizing or eliminating several conventional oil boom failure mechanisms. Also, entrained droplets, which easily traverse a single bubble curtain, are blocked effectively by a wide bubble plume curtain.