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Wednesday, April 7, 2010 as of 11:14 AM ET

Economy

Jonathan Serrie

Atlanta, GA

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Oil Spill: Watching Cautiously from Alabama

April 29, 2010 - 1:36 PM | by: Jonathan Serrie

ORANGE BEACH, ALA — Fishing charter operator Randy Boggs watches from his boat as BP contractors position floating oil containment booms to protect beaches and environmentally sensitive barrier islands from the massive oil spill, still offshore.

“With the wind and the currents, we’re thinking this oil spill is gonna go toward Louisiana and the marshes over there,” he said. “But just to be on the safe side, we’ve got our protection out here and are getting ready in case it did come this way.”

Boggs’s Reel Surprise Charters is part of the booming tourism industry of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. The region’s fishing and beaches draw more than 1.3 million visitors a year. And the busy summer tourist season kicks off this weekend.

“Anything that could impact our island or impact our visitors is certainly a concern,” said Mike Foster, vice president of marketing for Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Tourism. “At this point, we don’t think it’s a real pressing concern. But quite honestly, we’ve taken a lot of measures already.”

To provide residents and visitors with updates on the oil spill, the official gulfshores.com website has posted a link to its “crisis page” — which is normally used during hurricane season.

“This isn’t something like a hurricane that lands and goes away,” said Marie Curren of Brett Robinson, a vacation rentals company. “This is gonna be on our shores for a good couple of weeks at the least. And so we’ll be watching it. We don’t want it to interfere with our industry.”

Curren added that she is “cautiously optimistic” it will not.

Click here to watch Jonathan’s exclusive Kyte video of the ongoing oil spill preparations.

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