Florida Boating and the Oil Spill

Some boatbuilders and dealers report oil-free beaches on Florida's West Coast.

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Courtesy Of Sailtime Tampa Bay

With media reports keeping our collective attention riveted on the BP Oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, reports are in that potential visitors are steering clear of the Sunshine State, making the loss of business a disaster in and of itself.

But in a recent call with boat builders, several in the Tampa area reported no signs of oil on the beaches along the west coast, so far at least. One builder likened it to hurricane season jitters that keep tourists away from the Caribbean, even though any particular island may be hundreds of miles from a passing storm.

Debbie Whiteaker of Whiteaker Yacht Sales has made similar observations as well in a recent blog post.

"Marinas and other boating related businesses in Florida's Panhandle area are reporting greatly depressed sales," she writes. "This is very frustrating for many business owners in that area as the effect of the oil spill has thus far been minimal."

"What is even more frustrating is the fact that it has depressed the boating industry in many other areas of Florida where there has been absolutely no sign of oil. Not a single tar ball related to the oil spill has washed ashore outside of the Panhandle area. The vast majority of Coastal Florida remains oil free. However many businesses throughout Florida have reported cancellations or changes in plans related to boating activities. This is really a shame and can only be blamed on the uncertainty and lack of clarity about the quality of the water brought on by an overactive TV news media...

"In the meantime, the water's fine in Florida. Have you noticed on many of the maps predicting where the spill will go that the West Coast of Florida and Tampa Bay remain completely untouched? While no one knows for sure what will happen in the days to come, we at Whiteaker Yacht Sales remain very hopeful that not just the area where we are located here in Tampa Bay will be preserved, but the vast majority of Florida waters will retain their beauty."