There was an article published on Friday May 28, 2010 in the Tampa Bay Business Journal titled Restaurants, hotels launch anti-oil PR effort that announces a major ad campaign already that began earlier this week telling the public that Florida Beaches are clear of oil from BP gulf oil catastrophe. My first reaction was of course, you have got to be kidding me and this response is not directed at the Hotels or Resorts but at the State of Florida. The ads which began running May 24th will continue through June 4th may not be accurate.

You Have to Wonder

Gulf Oil Spill Arial Photo

Although I understand that tourism is crucial to the Florida economy especially this Memorial weekend, part of me is wondering if this will now play out like a Hollywood horror movie where public officials try to protect the tourism dollar by minimizing the dangers. Globs of oil have washing up on gulf beaches since last week and it is only a matter of time before Florida beaches on the Gulf side see an impact although due to water currents not all beaches will be affected equally. Unfortunately the true impact may not be visible because only a fraction of the oil and contaminants reach the surface.

The latest estimates for the amount of oil spewing into the gulf of Mexico are at least 4 times the amount that the Exxon Valdez spilled.

“Two teams of scientists calculated the well has been spewing between 504,000 and more than a million gallons a day. Even using the most conservative estimate, that means about 18 million gallons have spilled so far. In the worst-case scenario, 39 million gallons have leaked.”

Source: Tampa Bay Times

“…scientists said the mile-deep well has been spewing 12,000 to 19,000 barrels of oil a day, far more than previously estimated”

Source: The Washington Post

At 42 gallons per barrel the estimate is between 500,000 and 1,000,000 gallons of oil have been are now in the gulf of Mexico. These are incredible numbers and it makes it inevitable that the entire coastal region will be impacted in some manner or form.

A more prudent approach would be to state that although Florida Gulf beaches may be visibly clean at the moment, tourists and beachgoers should be on the lookout for the following signs of danger including but not limited to tar balls, globs of oils, oily film on the waters surface, rashes, petroleum odors and so on. Hotels and Resorts need to be prepared to inspect beaches as well as other assets for the first signs of oil emergence and make sure their air filtering systems are in optimal working condition. The best way to do tackle maintenance tasks are to have them organized using a CMMS system.

We wish everyone a safe summer, but lets be careful out there and have a healthy dose of skepticism if someone is telling you “Oil – what Oil? There is no danger here”

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