Many Florida timeshare owners, and those of you who are planning to vacation on a beautiful Florida beach by renting a timeshare, are wondering how the oil spill will affect this summer's vacation plans. The oil spill was caused by a catastrophic explosion on April 30, 2010, that shot oil from an offshore drilling rig off the Louisiana coast in the Gulf of Mexico, creating the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history. As of June 10th, it is estimated that over 100 million gallons of oil have spilled into the surrounding waters.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection, and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), are both monitoring the movement of the oil toward Florida's coastline.
Tar balls have started showing up on Florida's beaches by Pensacola and Panama City, and some state fishing waters have been closed after new oil sightings. Emergency Operations managers in Escambia county report, "The closure includes state waters from the beaches out nine nautical miles into the Gulf from the Alabama line east to the Pensacola Beach water tower. Interior bays and estuaries remain open to fishing. This area covers approximately 23 miles of Florida's coastline in Escambia County."
Booms and other equipment are being used to help contain the oil and remove it from the water as it seeps its way toward the coastline. Some 50,000 feet of boom were deployed in sensitive areas of Escambia County. Those booms are placed in strategic locations around wetlands, marshlands and beaches.
Meanwhile, the rest of Florida braces for impact as the oil continues to pump into the Gulf of Mexico from the damaged rig. Although Florida's 825 miles of beaches, 1,260 miles of coastline and 14 seaports, including cruise ships, remain open for business, contingency plans are being devised by Florida's state government.
On his fourth visit to the region since the crisis started, President Obama is encouraging vacationers to continue plans for Florida, saying, “There’s still a lot of opportunity for visitors to come down here. There are a lot of beaches that have not been affected and will not be affected.”
“And we just want to make sure that people who have travel plans down to the Gulf area remain mindful of that,” added the President. “Because if people want to know what can they do to help folks down here, one of the best ways to help is to come down here and enjoy the outstanding hospitality.”
So, keep your plans for a timeshare vacation on Florida's beaches this summer. To monitor the situation, visit the Florida Department of Environmental Protection web site and this Oil Spill Update blog with daily updates on the beaches.