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Monitoring and detection of ships and oil spills using synthetic aperture radar (SAR) have received a considerable attention over the past few years, notably due to the wide area coverage and day and night all-weather capabilities of SAR systems. Among different polarimetric SAR modes, dual-pol SAR data are widely used for monitoring large ocean and coastal areas. The degree of polarization (DoP) is a fundamental quantity characterizing a partially polarized electromagnetic field, with significantly less computational complexity, readily adaptable for on-board implementation, compared with other well-known polarimetric discriminators. The performance of the DoP is studied for joint ship and oil-spill detection under different polarizations in hybrid/compact and linear dual-pol SAR imagery. Experiments are performed on RADARSAT-2 C-band polarimetric data sets, over San Francisco Bay, and L -band NASA/JPL UAVSAR data, covering the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.