(Updated at 9:26 a.m.)
BP hiring fishing boats to help
The Louisiana Department of Environmental Protection posted this notice:
"BP is looking to contract with vessels for hire (shrimp boats, oyster boats, etc.) to deploy boom in the Gulf of Mexico. The response contractors for this program are already collecting information on vessels. Specifically, they need the name, owner, dimensions, characteristics (including length, draft, horsepower, etc) and other pertinent information you can provide. Direction and training will be provided and determined by area response plans based on the highest priority areas on down.
"As soon as you have gathered the relevant information on your vessel, please email that information to the managing contractor Vince Mitchell at email@example.com or 425-745-8017. As well, please copy BP's coordinator Grant Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org."
(Updated at 9:19 p.m.)
Floridians: What now?
For many residents and businesses along Florida's Panhandle, the oil spill has been met with uncertainty, CNN affiliate WALA reports.
The question for many Floridians bracing for the oil spill to head their way isn't why, or how, but simply, what to do now?
"I guess one thing about hurricanes is you know what you can do," Santa Rosa County Chamber of Commerce President Meg Peltier told WALA. "You go to the store, you shop, you buy all your goodies and you get ready. People want to get ready for this, but they don't know what to do," Peltier said.
Buddy Rogers, who operates a beach business, told WALA that "The phones have just about stopped ringing, and those that are calling, they're cancelling charters." Rogers said, "I've offered the boat [to authorities] in any way I can, pull booms, whatever they think we can do to help. Right now, all I can do is cut all my spending, save what little bit I can."
Gulf Coast residents worried
Mississippi Gulf Coast residents see their way of life imperiled as the oil slick sloths toward the shoreline.
Fisherman Harold Strong told WLOX, "We'll be out of business, basically, pretty much devastated. I see no recovery. If you lose two to three years, I can see absolutely no way to come back from it."
Marc Douroux Jr., who fishes for a pasttime rather than livelihood, said the oil spill is sure to change marine life.
"All the livestock is going to be killed, birds are going to die, crabs are going to die, fish are going to die, there's not going to be nothing to fish for no more," he told WLOX.
[Updated at 7:04 p.m.]
Tour boat captain says oil spill worse than KatrinaÂ
CNN All Platform Journalist Sarah Hoye and photojournalist Mark Biello are currently in Gulfport, Mississippi. They spent the morning with local tour boat captains, whose livelihoods â€“ ferrying tourists around the barrier islands â€“ are threatened by the approaching oil spill.Â
Louis Skrmetta is the operations manager of Ship Island Excursions, a family-owned business since 1926. He told CNN that the oil coming to shore is worse than Hurricane Katrina.Â
"At least with Katrina we had clean water and something to eat," he said. "I'd rather lose my house again than go through this."Â Â
With his three boats docked, Skrmetta says he is considering filing for bankruptcy if he cannot operate tours this summer, his busiest time of year.